CARDINALS captured 12 championships between 1968 and 1973
CARDINALS captured 12 championships between 1968 and 1973

Dominica's basketball was in its infancy stages during the 1960s, rapidly maturing in stature in the 1970s. Much occurred in those early years, and while Jump Ball in 2017 presented a three-part article titled, 'Basketball Before Windsor Park 1966-1971' this two-part mini-series is supplementary to what was presented then.

So, please enjoy some news clips on local basketball from the 1960s and 1970s. We bounce off prior to the inauguration of the Island Basketball League.

Early '60s

  • The Christian Brothers, who administered the St. Mary's Academy introduce basketball into Dominica and lay the foundation for the sport on the island.

1963 *

The first two teams in the history of competitive basketball in Dominica, viz. S.M.A. Alumni (former students of the St. Mary's Academy) and S.M.A. Pupils engage in two series of matches on the SMA hardcourt. These series comprised three and five matches respectively, and the Alumni was later renamed Limers.

1966 *

In March, a Basketball Association Team engages a team comprising Netball Girls in a two-part friendly match organised by the DASA Netball Sub-Committee. S. Loblack got 14 goals and C. Severin 11 for the basketballers.

  • Dominica's first-ever basketball league tips off at the St. Mary's Academy hardcourts on 7th May, with four (4) teams participating. Citylites and St. Mary's Academy emerge as Dominica's first basketball League and Knockout champions respectively, with Argonauts and Limers being the two other teams competing that year.

  • A Basketball Referees' Committee is formed.

1967 *

Newcomers to the Island League, Atoms win both League and Knockout championships, and are the first team to capture double-championships in Dominica's basketball.

  • Dominica's first Island Team is selected and hosts separately, two teams from other islands in the region. Their first guests are the Guadeloupe Island Team for two friendlies, and later Barbados' League Champions, 7-Up Giants for two friendlies. The Island Team's first coach is Brother Stevens of the St. Mary's Academy.

  • Dominica's oldest all-boys secondary school, Dominica Grammar School make their entry into the Basketball League. The secondary schools then accounted for two of the six teams in that year's league competition.

It must be noted that in those days, the two all-boys secondary schools (St. Mary's Academy and Dominica Grammar School) separately fielded teams in 'national' sports leagues such as cricket and football, and now basketball.

  • The first basketball court to be constructed outside of the city of Roseau is built on the grounds of the St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Grand Bay.

1968 * Cardinals debuts in Dominica's basketball arena, immediately capturing both League and Knockout Championships, the second team in local basketball to do so in the then 3-season old league. Cardinals would then go on to accumulate twelve championships (6 League, 6 Knockout) between 1968 and 1973, losing only two league matches along the way. The team would continue winning more championships (including Play-offs) in their illustrious career which extended to 2004.

  • A basketball team from out-of-town participates in the Dominica Amateur Sports Association (D.A.S.A.) basketball league for the first time; that team Nationals, hailed from Grand Bay. The year before, they had made their first appearance 'in town', playing against and defeating St. Mary's Academy in an exhibition match as part of the 1967 Season Awards Function.

  • The year 1968 is a relatively busy period for the Dominica Island Team who played 10 games in local and overseas engagements against opponents from Guadeloupe, Trinidad, St. Lucia (away) and Barbados (away, in an international tournament).

  • A non-Dominican who played with one of the teams in our local league is included on the Island Team.

  • During an exciting match between then new-comers Cardinals and defending League and Knockout (double) Champions Atoms, "the S.M.A. Grandstand" collapses under the weight of the enthusiastic, cheering fans.

  • Three players of the Island Basketball Team are suspended from representing Dominica in all D.A.S.A. controlled sports for two years. The three players felt that the Island Team's Coach did not give them the same opportunity as the other Island players in practice sessions or in the five Island Team matches played since September 1967.

  • In an effort to attract more spectators to basketball matches, the DASA Basketball Sub-Committee on one occasion distributes 500 free tickets to students of various schools.

  • A Basketball Off-Season League is contested by six (6) teams from the Island League. That competition – a first for Dominica's basketball - was considered a 'warm-up' for the 1969 season which was carded to open early in the year.

  • Man-to-Man defence is introduced to Dominica's basketball for the first time, as an alternative to Zone Defence; Man-to-man was first employed during the Off-Season.

Continues next edition