Listwè Basketball An Gwanbé (Part II)
Jump Ball No. XXXVI. By Arlington James
Part I of "Listè Basketball An Gwanbé" presented the origin of basketball in Grand Bay, and focused mostly on part of the performance of NATIONALS, Grand Bay's first basketball team.
The article continues below:
Two of the teams that Nationals defeated in 1969 were St. Mary's Academy II (55-32) - with St. Hilaire contributing 35 Pts, and Dominica Grammar School (44-36).
The following year, in one of Nationals' league matches, Perez outscored his opponents' team-score, netting 30 Pts in their 42-29 victory over St. Mary's Academy II.
Nationals went on to capture the 1970 Division II Knock-Out Championship and ended their short basketball journey after taking their final dribble in the Knock-out Finals. They collected their championship trophy on 4th February 1971.
Grand Bay's basketball then remained relatively dormant during the two basketball seasons following Nationals' dissolution, but making way for the ushering in of Nationals' successors, BATA PROS.
Some More on PROS: Pros' story was presented in Jump Ball's first article entitled, "Pros: They Were the Pride of Sout' City in Basketball" which was published on 16th October 2016. Hence, some of this current write-up on the Pros that would go on to make waves in the national league – at least in the 1970s – will be supplemental to the 2016 article.
Several Nationals players transitioned to Pros and the first Grandbarians – mostly in alphabetical order - to wear the BATA PROS uniform were Pierre Charles, Nicholas Christian, Eugene Douglas, Felix Henderson, Patrick Henderson and his brother Lambert "Lambie" Henderson, Bonti Liverpool, Augustus St. Hilaire and his brother George "Zyro" St. Hilaire, "Embert" Stowe and Roy Tonge.
Formed in mid-1972, Bata Pros debuted in Dominica's national basketball league on Wednesday 7th February 1973, clinching a 2-Pt victory over Raiders, 42-40.
Furthermore, Pros in their first year more than doubled their opponents' scores on two occasions. They destroyed the engines of Roseau Concords 59-22, and dissipated SMA Gales 75-36. Also, during that season two of Pros' founding members, viz. Lambert Henderson and Augustus St. Hilaire, were selected to Dominica's State Basketball Team.
Moreover, very importantly, in Pros' first year in the "big league" they emerged runner-up in both League and Knock-Out championships!
The following year, Pros struck gold, capturing the 1974 League Championship in only their second season!
The team would then go on to set two scoring records in local basketball when they completely extinguished Starlights 136-58 in a 1978 match. Lambert Henderson dazzled with 58 Pts, with Augustus St. Hilaire contributing 42.
The records also show that Pros remained the only out-of-town team in DABA's top division for 18 years until the arrival of Portsmouth's Raiders, in 1991. That year, Pros suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Raiders, after enjoying a 27-Pt lead at the interval.
In their formative years, transportation to get to and from the game venue was sometimes a challenge for Pros. Perez recalls that after a particular game, the team ended up walking from Roseau, all the way back to Grand Bay.
Over time, Pros gradually lost their stronghold, and by Reunion Year 1988, for example, they ranked 6th from 9 Division I teams, with a 4 & 4 Win-Loss record, scoring an aggregate of 538 Pts and conceding 531. However, "Lambie, the scoring machine", was the 2nd highest aggregate-scorer with 154 points, while Garry Moore totaled 113 Pts. That year Pros blinded Owls 90-63, and extracted a 1 Pt clinching over Killer Bees, 70-69.
Come 1989, Pros made a slight improvement in their rankings, placing 4th out of the seven Division I teams. They amassed an aggregate of 479 Pts in their league matches, conceded 481, and also had the highest score in a half, 59 Pts. Garry Moore was the Division's 4th highest aggregate-scorer with 105 Pts.
Although Pros suffered a whipping at the hands of Cardinals (82-106) in 1989, they however broke Owls' wings 103-91, and bagged a 2-pt victory over Clouds, 58-56. They lost two other encounters closely, 79-80 vs Flames, and 69-73 vs Killer Bees.
The records also show that Pros took two breaks from participating in the national league, including 1998 through 2000. However, they outlived Cardinals in overall longevity, and took their final (???) lay-ups, jump-shots and Free-Throws in 2014.
Over the years, Pros produced several players who proudly sported Dominica's colours on the senior national basketball team, including Lambert Henderson (deceased), Augustus St. Hilaire, and Blaize Jones and his brothers Garry and "Gorvan" Moore.
There was another set of brothers, viz. Swinburn and Ryan "Ian" Anselm. Patrick Grell captained Dominica's National Team for three years, while Stephen "Homo" Bellot (deceased), and more recently Ted "Shaba" George, Shamal Tonge and Ramal Carbon are other proud Grandbarians who represented Sisserou Land in basketball.
Continues next edition.
Dragon Stout DRAGON PROS, 2011 DABA Ball-o-Rama Champions, with coach Ryan Anselm (2nd from Right). Photo Courtesy: Dominica News Online
2) Black and White Photo:
Part of PROS basketball team, Circa 1973/1974
Standing (L-R): Patrick Henderson, Pierre Charles, Lambert
Henderson, Augustus St. Hillarie
Squatting (L-R): Bonti Liverpool, Nicholas Christian, Roy Tonge, Felix Henderson