BBF ‘has not done anything’ for development of women’s basketball


Senior Sports Reporter


WHILE the Bahamas Basketball Federation crowned its men’s division 1 and II champions over the weekend in Abaco, the New Providence Women’s Basketball Association champions were disappointed once again as they were not included.

The BBF’s Bunny Levarity National Basketball Tournament saw the New Providence Basketball Association champions Mr Ship It Freight Regulators and Breezes High Flyers bring the two titles to New Providence.

The Regulators, behind the game-winning basket by most valuable player Brian Bain in the winding seconds, held off the Grand Bahama Shipyard Cruisers 84-82 for the division one title, while the Bimini Marlins won 55-50 over Abaco’s Murphy Town Bombers for third place.

And the High Flyers flew past the Marsh Harbour Hoppers 61-60 as Jeremy Neely hit the winning free throw and Shanton Pratt earned the MVP. The South Andros Elites won the bronze medal.

Last week, the Bommer Gee Lady Operators clinched the NPWBA title over the Career Builders Lady Cheetahs at the DW Davis Gym. But once again, there was no national tournament play for the ladies.

“I don’t think the Bahamas Basketball Federation has done anything for the development of women’s basketball in the country,” said Lady Operators’ assistant coach Anthony Swaby, a long-time proponent for women’s basketball in the country.

But federation first vice president Mario Bowleg said the Lady Operators were not invited to participate in the nationals because there were no other island associations with a vibrant women’s programme. “The other islands didn’t have an active league, so it didn’t make any sense trying to have them put an All-Star team together to play,” Bowleg said.

“The federation have executives on these islands and so our arms are stretched, but it’s up to the associations in the islands to ensure that they have their women’s programmes up and going.”

Bowleg, a former coach of the champions Lady Cheetahs, who previously won the NPWBA crown, said although the BBF president Charlie ‘Softly’ Robins is based in Grand Bahama, the island is still challenged in developing their women’s programme.

Bowleg noted that newly elected president of the Grand Bahama Amateur Basketball Association, Quintin ‘Three-Ounce’ Hall, has made a pledge to rectify the problem as they move forward.

But NPWBA’s president Mynez Sherman said they are just tired of trying to “beat” an old horse.

“Another year has passed and the federation still haven’t gotten the associations to get their women’s programme going,” she insisted. “So we are disappointed that we are still not having a ladies’ division for the nationals.

“Although our champions, Bommer Gee, didn’t get to travel, I think we as an association was able to accomplish our goals in that we completed a very successful league and we are looking forward to increasing our teams next year.”

Cargill-Sherman, a former executive of the BBF, said her major disappointment is not their championship teams not being able to travel, but the fact that they can’t get any funding from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture or a major sponsor like BTC, who have earmarked all of their resources to the federation.

Last year, Cargill-Sherman introduced their junior division, which they have managed to secure some funding.She said they would continue to focus on the league as they continue to prepare the way for the league to continue to grow from year to year.

Swaby recommends that the other islands adopt the same process as the NPWBA in staging their junior programme for the second consecutive year on Saturdays.

“I think that’s the only way that the women’s basketball league is going to improve,” Swaby said. “But someone has to take the iniative to run a Saturday programme. “It doesn’t seem like we will be able to get the seniors to go to the Nationals.

“We understand that Harbour Island have a very robust junior programme and all of the islands should do the same. But I just think that the federation need to put their foot down and let all of their island associations that they need to develop a women’s programme.”

The last time the women’s participated in the nationals was three years ago when Swaby and his Lady Operators captured the title over Grand Bahama in Bimini.

Bowleg, however, said they have identified the challenges they face with the women’s programme when they met in their annual general meeting. He said they are also looking at the possibility of the islands developing a junior programme as it’s being done here in the NPWBA.

“The only difficulty is that there isn’t the volume of girls to play because the majority of them are in the high schools and so they will not be able to play until the weekend,” he pointed out.

“The ability to keep these young players interested in playing the game doesn’t just fall on the federation, the associations who govern the development of basketball on their islands.”

Despite not having the women’s teams participating in the nationals, Bowleg said the tournament turned out to a very keenly contested one.

“Both of the championship games came right down to the wire,” Bowleg stressed. “The tournament was well attended. People have sent out their props to the federation for a well organized tournament.”

The federation is now preparing to take the nationals to Grand Bahama next year when Bowleg said they hope that they can have the women’s programmme developed so that they can include them in their line-up.

The NPWBA’s junior programme closed out with the Consolidated Water winning the 11-14 title over the Jordan Prince Williams Falcons and the ASF Insurance Brokers won the 15-18 crown pver the Commonwealth Bank Cybots Queens.

In the meantime, Swaby said he and head coach Donnie Culmer, along with sponsor Bommer George, are looking at the possibility of taking their Lady Operators either to Cuba or Jamaica to participate in some games as an incentive for winning the NPWBA’s championship title.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment