Dominica In CARICOM Basketball
JUMP BALL No. 113. By Arlington James
The year after Dominica's basketball League first bounced off, i.e. 1967, our first Island Team was selected.
In the late 1960s, the 1970s and into the 1980s, the Island/State Team - later National Team, engaged teams from other Caribbean islands. We hosted, or travelled overseas to take on teams from Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Trinidad. Some of our opponents then were club sides while others were representative Island teams.
The year 1975 was a watershed year for basketball in the Windwards Sub-region when St. Lucia hosted the first edition of the Windward Islands Basketball Tournament. The Nature Island hosted the tournament's 2nd edition in 1976 capturing the championship then.
But come 1981, the sport in the wider Caribbean achieved a major milestone with the staging of the inaugural edition of the CARICOM Basketball Championships which were held in Guyana... And Dominica's National Flag was hoisted and "Isle of Beauty" played at that historic regional event!
Representing the Nature Isle at that tournament were Stephen Bellot, Carlton Bernard, Oliver Burton, Julius Cuffy, Julie Francis, Lambert Henderson, Lennox Jervier, Mickey Joseph, Robert Joseph, Anicette Moore, Patrick Pemberton, Peter Skerrit, Bernard Thomas and Irving Williams. The team was coached by Wilmoth LeBlanc whilst Michael Casimir traveled as Referee. [* - deceased]
In that CARICOM Tournament Dominica played three matches, losing to Guyana (53-93) and Antigua (65-88), but tying with Barbados (77-77). Lennox Jervier got selected to the first ever 15-man CARICOM Basketball Team.
It may be of interest to note that that 1981 Tournament preceded the advent of the OECS Basketball Championships which first tipped off here in Dominica in 1984.
Dominica participated in some other editions of "CARICOM", including 1982 (2nd edition, hosted by Jamaica), 1983 (3rd edition in Trinidad & Tobago, with Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and hosts Trinidad & Tobago participating).
The Championships took a time-out in 1984 and upon its return in 1985, for various reasons, even after our team had been in training and the tournament rescheduled from August to December, Dominica did not participate in the 4th Championships, held in Barbados.
Dominica participated in the 1996 Championships in Trinidad with the team being coached by Marcellus Lee and managed by Mickey Joseph. Garth Joseph was judged Best Defensive Player for Dominica and of the Tournament.
But the 2000 edition of "CARICOM" in Barbados is one that will always be remembered by members of that Dominica Team. Although the Nature Islanders were nowhere close to winning that championship, Dominica succeeded in securing victories over two of the more fancied teams. Firstly, they defeated Jamaica by 11 points (72-61) in a relatively physical game, and later Trinidad & Tobago by 16 points (77-61). Team Manager, Edgar Robinson, in a statement made the following year bragged, "We literally sent the Jamaicans to the locker room crying..."
The players on that team which ruffled Jamaica and Trinidad comprised Johnny Alfred, Fidel Durand, William Graham, Carlisle Green, Algernon Jervier, Kevin John, Brian Joseph, Fletcher LeBlanc, Michael Moses, Milton Paul, Jason Richards and Davidson Toulon. The coach was by Mickey Joseph with Derek Alexander serving as Assistant Coach.
Dominica In Junior CARICOM Basketball: In 1997, for the first time ever, Dominica participated in the CARICOM Under-19 Basketball Tournament which was staged in Jamaica.
Playing in their zone Dominica, with wins over Trinidad & Tobago (66-63) and Grenada (72-57) and four losses played creditably notwithstanding, not suffering any blow-outs. They lost by 19 Pts to Jamaica (58-77), 16 to Barbados (59-75), 13 to Cayman Islands (55-68), and only 8 Pts to Turks & Caicos Islands (65-73).
In their 6 matches played at that tournament, the Nature Island Boys scored an aggregate of 375 points (averaging 62.5 points per game) and conceded 413 (68.8 ppg against). Leading the scoring for Dominica were Johann Yorke (98 pts), Fletcher Harry (58 Pts) and Henry Williams (44 Pts); Tyrone Payne had also high-scored with 9 points in one of the matches. Bernard Thomas was coach.
Dominica also participated in the 2016 Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Under-16 Championships staged in Guyana, emerging winless and suffering at least three blow-outs: by 35 Points to Barbados (45-78); 45 points to Virgin Islands (37-82); and a most embarrassing 104 points (21-125) to Bahamas.
Remarks: Will Dominica ever return to the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships? The time-out has been extended for much too long.
Statistical and other information sourced mainly from archived newspapers and the Internet. Thanks to Mickey, Algernon and TiLing for their valuable contributions.
Photo 1. Dominica Team at 2000 CARICOM Basketball Championships
STANDING (L-R): Mickey Joseph (Coach), Michael 'Scrope' Moses, Carlisle Green, Kevin 'Price' John, Brian 'BJ' Joseph, Milton 'Sir Charles' Paul, Edgar 'Robo' Robinson (Manager), Johnny 'Legere' Alfred, Algernon Jervier. CROUCHING (L-R): Davidson 'Guinea' Toulon, Fidel Durand. STOOPING (L-R): Jason 'Boongie' Richards, William 'Jimbo' Graham, Fletcher LeBlanc
NOT IN PHOTO: Derek 'Didi' Alexander (Asst. Coach and camera-man)
Photo 2. DOMINICA Team in 1996 Senior CARICOM Basketball Championships.
BACK ROW: Jason Richards, Johnny Alfred, Garth Joseph, Milton Paul, Fletcher LeBlanc, David Thomas. FRONT ROW: Marcellus Lee (Coach), Romeal Robinson (former NBA player), Ian Anselm. STOOPING: Fidel Durand.
Photo 3. DOMINICA Team in CARICOM Under-19 Basketball Championships, 1997.
BACK ROW: Dale Peter, Fletcher Harry, Tyrone Payne, Johann Yorke. FRONT ROW: Jenson Lecointe (with ball), Frankie McLawrence, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (former NBA player), Gary Defoe, Sylvere Bryan. Also, Damian John (on side of person in red shirt) and Lennon Matthew trying to get into the picture. Photo courtesy Mickey Joseph