By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE New Providence Public Primary School Sports Association’s 2023 Mini Basketball Tournament got underway yesterday at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium with some exciting games being played by the girls’ teams.
Those teams will be back in action today starting at 9am at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium as they vie for a chance to compete in the playoffs on Friday.
The boys’ teams will be in action on Wednesday and Thursday to determine who advances to the playoffs and final on Friday as well.
Carlton E Francis, whose past coach Sherman Smith is being honoured posthumously in the tournament after he passed away in 2020, routed Albury Sayles 20-6 in one of the games played. In their other game, they doubled up Thelma Gibson 10-5.
In other games, Garvin Tynes held off TG Glover 15-6; Thelma Gibson blanked Sadie Curtis 6-0; Garvin Tynes doubled up Sadie Curtis 6-3; Albury Sayles got by TG Glover 8-2; Albury Sayles held off Garvin Tynes 7-4; EP Roberts held off Uriah McPhee 7-3; CW Sawyer beat Centreville Primary 8-5; Eva Hilton shut out Palmdale 10-0; CW Sawyer prevailed 9-5 over Uriah McPhee; Eva Hilton got by EP Roberts 8-2; Albury Sayles pulled off a 7-4 decision over Garvin Tynes and Palmdale nipped Centreville 4-2. After the first day of competition, the majority of the players were pleased with their team’s performances, whether they won or loss.
“The tournament is going well for the girls,” said Palmdale’s coach Ashley Oembler. “We had some ups and downs, but for the most part, the girls tried their best. We just have to learn to execute our passes and we will be much better.”
Shirlene Moss, coach of Centreville Primary, said they are winless so far, but she’s looking for things to turn around today.
“The kids had fun and that’s the idea and it’s paramount to why we are playing mini-basketball,” Moss said. “We enjoyed the games. As we got into the second game, I saw some improvement and so that is encouraging because every game we play, we hope to get better.”
Kemsey Sylvestre, now a coach at Albury Sayles, said it’s a learning process for him and his players.
“I can’t look for much. I just want to have some fun,” he said. “I was sitting on the bench with them and encouraging them, Tomorrow (today), I’m expecting them to come back out and continue to enjoy themselves. I can’t put much pressure on them because some of them haven’t played since the start of COVID-19.”
Crystal Eneas, who coaches Garvin Tynes along with Janice Williams, said they will only get better before the tournament is done.
“I think the girls played very well considering that we are focusing on the fundamentals of the game that we took them through in practice,” Eneas said. “I told them to have confidence and go in there and have fun and everything else will flow.”
Today’s action will be a little more intense as teams start jostling for the final four spots in the playoffs.
The tournament was officially opened by Tim Munnings, the former director of sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Munnings, now with the Ministry of Health, encouraged the players to go out there and follow the instructions of their coaches and give it their best shot.
A team from the Ministry of Health was on hand and will be there for the duration of the tournament, providing some medical assistance to the players.