It has been nearly one year since the COVID-19 virus brought the world to a standstill. Now as organizations, businesses and sporting associations are finding safe ways to cope, the HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) is doing the same.
HOYTES Coach and Founder, Gladstone “Moon” McPhee shared recently that HOYTES is seeking guidance from health officials to host the 22nd annual Geneva Rutherford Girls Basketball Tournament. Traditionally, the tournament is played mid-February. However, the plan now is to host the tournament, if approved, at the end of March or early April.
Notably, sports such track and field, swimming, tennis, and baseball have been active. However, there has been no competitive basketball played since the Geneva Rutherford and Hugh Campbell Tournaments in February 2020. McPhee wants to ensure that there is a safe way for the girls to compete knowing that the athletes are eager to play.
“We want to make sure they are safe. We want to see what kind of reaction we’re going to have - if the girls will have to play with or without masks. We’re seeking direction from the doctors whether or not it can be done.
“As you’re aware, we always have teams from Nassau and the Family Islands playing in the tournament. If we play it in February then we would have to stagger the dates where we play the junior girls a certain time and the senior girls a certain time.
“It’s something we have to look at, myself and others on the committee, and then meet with Dr. (Frank) Bartlett to see how best we can do it. We do realize the girls and young people need to play but do it is about doing so the safest way possible.”
According to McPhee, the conversation about safety has been had, but more research is being done.
“They need to play. You have young people in other countries, and the United States playing but you have to look at the overall safety of the players.
“Some young people will follow instructions and some just won’t. So, we have to look at it from all aspects and find the best time we can do it.
“I know the kids want to play and have the tournament. It’s something they always look forward to.”
The Geneva Rutherford Tournament was birthed out of a strong desire shown by girls’ basketball players over 22 years ago. While the senior boys competed every February in the Hugh Campbell Tournament in New Providence, it was McPhee’s own daughter, coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin, who spurred her father to host an event just for the girls.
Since then, junior and senior girls’ basketball teams out of Grand Bahama, Abaco, New Providence eagerly circled the month February on their calendars, each year.
Last year’s titles were swept by teams out of New Providence. The Jordan Prince William Falcons carried away the junior girls’ championship, while the C.R. Walker Knights captured the senior girls’ title.
The Falcons rolled past the former champion, Sister Mary Patricia Russell Panthers, 37-14, while the Knights survived a close encounter with the former senior girls’ champions, the St. George’s Jaguars, 22-16.