BTC and HOYTES go public with Labor Day Tournament just days away

TOURNAMENT READY – Officials and sponsors of this year’s HOYTES Labor Day Basketball Classic agree that not only are they ready for the competition, but the teams and coaches as well. Pictured from left are Gladstone “Moon” McPhee, HOYTES President; Eldri Ferguson-Mackey, BTC Northern Bahamas, VP; Fred Sturrup, HOYTES official and Sharon Storr, Tournament Director. (PHOTO: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

The BTC HOYTES Labor Day Basketball Classic is just a few days away with the hype continuing to increase.

Both BTC and tournament officials met this past Monday in their latest promotional push of the yearly tournament that features teams out of Freeport, New Providence, Abaco and Bimini.

The round-robin style tournament runs from June 1-4 at the St. Georges’ Gymnasium and will feature competition in seven male categories and two categories for the girls between the ages of 5-18. The Classic will also be in honor of the late Grathen Andrew “Sugar” Robins, who coached the teams represented out of Bimini.

On the boys’ side the 5-6 Division will feature three teams – Bimini, HOYTES and HOYTES B. The 7-8 Division will feature Bimini, HOYTES and Showtime out of Nassau. Competing in the 9-10 Division will be Bimini, HOYTES, Improvement Basketball (Pelican Bay) and Showtime. Bimini, HOYTES A and B, along with Showtime will be the featured teams in the 11-12 Division.

The competition is sure to heat up in the 13-14 and 15-16 Divisions, as both age brackets feature the largest amount of teams. Agape out of Abaco, Bimini, Eight Mile Rock Blue Jays, Grand Cay, HOYTES, Jaguars, Reach Out, Shining Stars and Showtime will be featured in the 13-14 Division.

Those very programs, with the exception of the Blue Jays, will also be represented in the 15-16 Division.

Lastly, the 17-18 Division will feature Bimini, HOYTES, Improvement Basketball and Reach Out.

The Girls’ Division will feature a 12 and Under bracket, with teams from HOYTES and Showtime, and an Open Division that will field three teams – HOYTES, Jaguars and Greater Heights.

HOYTES’ official, Fred Sturrup, voiced that the Labor Day Classic is just one of three “wonderful” events that HOYTES presents to the public; the Geneva Rutherford Girls’ Basketball Tournament and the ongoing HOYTES Program hosted every Saturday.

He further illustrated that Gladstone “Moon” McPhee continues to do an “excellent job” and has done so over the last four decades.
“He remains as one of the pillars of The Bahamas’ sports brand and we’re very appreciative of the work he does in Grand Bahama.”

With BTC as the title sponsor for the upcoming event, Sturrup spoke to the local telecommunications entity’s continuous involvement in sports.

“BTC is the esteemed, primed sports sponsor in the country and I’d like to think BTC is more synonymous with the sports brand than anything else. So again we thank you.”

He further listed and thanked the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association, Statoil and Grand Bahama Power Company for their contributions to the tournament.

McPhee expressed special thanks to the Ministry of Tourism, which came on board and assisted with the transportation of the athletes.

Tournament Director Sharon Storr expressed that the HOYTES brand extended the invitation of teams to every area of the community including: churches, associations and various basketball clubs and schools.

He explained why it was important to host the tournament as a round-robin event versus a double elimination style.

“The country is used to double elimination…When we thought about it we wanted more activity for the teams’ dollar. If you come from Abaco, with a double elimination in two days you could be gone. So we felt it was better if we could engage them for a longer period of time.”

Vice President BTC Northern Bahamas Eldri Ferguson-Mackey stated that the Labor Day Tournament resonated with the BTC brand.

The company was recently the title sponsor for the IAAF World Relays and was the major sponsor for the CARIFTA teams this past April.

Ferguson-Mackey noted that programs like HOYTES are some of the most important ones to get behind.

“If you look at the acronym HOYTES – Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports – It’s nothing like the ones that you know reach home, touch and impact lives so deeply.

“We talked about those notable programs but these simple programs, these programs that reach, touch, groom and fashion so many of our young people are the ones that are very near and dear to our hearts. So this is one that took little to no effort … it was a no brainer.”

The BTC VP added that it is an ambition of the company to continuously sponsor the tournament in the future.
An opening ceremony will be held this coming Friday (June 2) at the Gymnasium beginning at 12:00 p.m. and will feature Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Michael Pintard as the keynote speaker.

The tournament is expected to begin this Thursday (June 1) at 5:00 p.m.

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