When the 2018 Bahamas High Schools National Basketball Championships unfold in less than two weeks (March 22-26), in Freeport, Grand Bahama, the battle for bragging rights will be fierce.
The focus on the female schools’ teams is getting greater. The ladies indeed are fighting for credibility. They are still quite a distance behind their male counterparts in national interest, but there is the deep-rooted desire for them to be accepted to a much larger degree, as being meaningful in the big picture of high school sports.
Thursday was International Women’s Day and around the country, conversations heralded Bahamian women who have been stellar contributors to nation building. In international basketball, presently Jonquel Jones and Waltiea Rolle are quality Bahamian female achievers. It is from this backdrop Prince Williams High’s senior girls, their rivals from Doris Johnson High, St. George’s High and other teams will be using the National Championship to heighten their reputations.
In the Family Islands category, Gateway Academy of Bimini will be aiming to repeat.
Without a doubt though, the hype will center on the senior boys category of the championships. Grand Bahama enters the national classic with strong bragging rights.
St. George’s upset the odds last year to claim the championship. Once again, the favorite team on paper will be the recently crowned Hugh Campbell Tournament champion school Tabernacle Baptist Academy. Both teams are based in Grand Bahama and from that island, representing also, will be powers Jack Hayward and Sunland Baptist.
There will be pressure on the No. 1 ranked Tabernacle Baptist. Widely regarded, and understandably so, as the finest senior boys basketball team in the country, Tabernacle, with the Hugh Campbell win, reasserted its recent dominance.Also to be considered are New Providence squads such as C. C. Sweeting which lost out to Tabernacle Baptist for the Hugh Campbell Tournament crown; Anatol Rodgers High; C. I. Gibson High; St. Augustine’s College; and R. M. Bailey High.
The Bahamas National Basketball Championships event is huge for high school sports and is a prime event of the Bahamas Sports Brand.
Corporate Bahamas should pay greater attention to the national sports championships. Sports organizers are challenged to broaden their marketing programs for the national championships of respective disciplines. As well, I encourage the Minister of Tourism and his ministry associations to have a greater appreciation for the domestic tourism impact of national sports championships and other locally organized major sporting events.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).