An unbeaten 2013 and home court advantage certainly make defending Massy United Insurance senior basketball champions Harrison College favourites to defeat Christ Church Foundation when the 2014 season bounces off today from 4 p.m.
College will host Foundation at Crumpton Street, and although the senior kings lost three of their starters from last season, the dangerous Nikolai Burton and Joel Hunte, along with rising talent Raphael Howard could prove to be match-winners.
The other two matches slated for this evening will see the Barbados Community College (BCC) hosting The Lodge School at Eyrie and Combermere travelling to Husbands, St James, to take on Queen’s College.
BCC are expected to be among the title contenders, with Avery Bryan over from Foundation joining twin towers Stefan Taylor, formerly of Foundation, and Torian Deane, a former QC student.
Six teams each are taking part in Division 1 and Division 2, but the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and newly promoted The St Michael School will be missing from Division 1.
Taking part in Division 2 are defending champions Graydon Sealy, Daryll Jordan, Deighton Griffith, Ellerslie, Frederick Smith and Lester Vaughan. St Leonard’s Boys’ and Alexandra are not returning for the new season.
The participating teams at yesterday’s opening ceremony were addressed by Mona Alleyne, assistant director of sports at the National Sports Council; Derek Garrett, president of the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association (BABA); and Sharron Alleyne-Elcock, business manager of sponsors Massy United Insurance.
Garrett threw out a challenge to the coaches’ association to adopt a school so that future tournaments would see all of the secondary schools taking part.
Alleyne-Elcock told the players that although basketball was a team sport, they should also set personal goals which would benefit the school.
She said the competition provided the opportunity for young players to show their skills and measure their progress in a controlled environment.
She said her company had supported the competition for 26 successive years, adding that “we at Massy United Insurance will continue to support sports and the achievement of excellence through sports”.
Graydon Sealy made a bright start to the new season by taking the skills competition, with the trio of Theo Greenidge, Chemar Steele and Justin Pile defeating their HC counterparts in the final.
Kolij made amends in the three-point shoot-out with Hunte being the sharpshooter. (KB)