Listwè Basketball an Gwanbé(Part III)
Jump Ball No. XXXVI. By Arlington James
Part II of "Listwè Basketball An Gwanbé" presented the transition from Nationals to Pros - Grand Bay's first two teams to compete in Dominica's national basketball league. About 80% of that section focused on Pros.
The article continues below:
Sout' City Teams in National League
In Grand Bay's 50 years of participation in basketball at the national level that community has fielded a whopping sixteen (16) teams distributed in 4 Divisions in the national league. This points to the popularity of basketball in Sout' City, and no other Dominican community comes close to that number of teams. In 1988, for example, five Grand Bay teams participated in DABA competitions.
As was noted earlier, Nationals, followed by Pros, competed in the national league's top Division (Division I, renamed Premier Division in 1997). Pros remained on the cards – with a couple of breaks in their participation – until 2014.
Sixers won the Division II championship in 1998, stepped up to Division I the following season, were subsequently promoted to the Premier Division in 2000, then bowed out some years later. More recently, Thundererz made their debut in the Premier Division in 2016.
Over the years, other all-male teams from Grand Bay which participated in DABA's national league included Sixty-Sixers and Pros II in the 2nd level men's division from the 1980s. Rammers, 76ers, and Thundererz I (from 2015), also competed in that Division.
The "original" Sixty-Sixers, with players such as Bonti Liverpool, Raphael Carbon, Nicholas Christian (now deceased) and others, were a formidable force in the "Intermediate" Division in the late 1980s. They grabbed both League and Knock-Out Championships in Division II in 1988, and followed with a repeat in the 1989 League Competition with an impressive 11 & 0 Win-Loss record!
Note that Sixty-Sixers were the predecessors of Sixers.
The Junior Division and Division III saw Pros Junior (e.g. in 1976, 1977, 1978), Ogan Stars, Home Boys, Smashers (e.g. in 1988, 1989) helping to keep Grand Bay's basketball tradition alive. Furthermore, Grand Bay Primary School was one of the four teams which participated in DABA's one-off 16 & Under Division, in 1988. Julian Pacquette, who played on the Primary School team then, later became a member of Smashers, then Home Boys, and subsequently Sixty-Sixers, which he captained for a few seasons.
Grand Bay's ladies have also made their contribution in the national basketball league. In the early days of the Women's Division (i.e. early 1980s), Pros Sisters, which was later re-named Madech Pros upon receiving sponsorship from Madech Wholesale in Roseau, helped carry Sout' City basketball banner aloft. More recently, i.e. up until 2013 and 2014, Lady Pros represented Sout' City in DABA's Women's Division.
Teams from Grand Bay in Schools Leagues
There are only two schools in Grand Bay and both have participated in the basketball competitions organized by the Sports Division.
The Grand Bay Secondary School, later renamed Pierre Charles Secondary School in 2005, has participated regularly in the Division's Under-20 Boys Basketball Competition for almost three decades now.
Meanwhile, the Primary School fields two teams - Grand Bay Primary School A and Grand Bay Primary School B - in the Sports Division's Primary Schools Basketball Festival.
Courts for Players: Roseau proper has had five basketball courts: at St. Mary's Academy, Dominica Grammar School, Windsor Park, St. Mary's Primary School and Bath Road.
On the other hand, Grand Bay's 5½ concrete strips surpass the number of courts built in Roseau over the years.
As was noted earlier, Sout' City's basketball journey began on a court constructed in two phases on the Roman Catholic Church grounds, in the late 1960s into the early 1970s.
Other courts were constructed in ensuing years at Ma Tutu's Park - with partial funding from the US Peace Corps; at Centre – close to the Grand Bay Police Station; at the Grand Bay Youth Centre; and most recently at the Pierre Charles Secondary School.
Several young men also played on a half-court at Country Garden, an old broken down hall close to Block 44 in the middle of Lalay.
Sponsorship of Grand Bay Teams in National League
Sponsorship often determines the longevity of a team, and several Grand Bay teams have been beneficiaries of sponsorship assistance from various sources. Most of the teams' sponsors had their operations in Roseau while the others come from the greater Grand Bay area.
Those sponsors include Bata Shoes (Pros Division I, Pros Junior); Heineken, Malta Heineken, Dragon Stout, Sobe (Pros Division I/Premier); Hillsborough Special (Sixers); SPAT [Small Projects Assistance Team] (Ogan Stars); Pepiz (Pros Intermediate); Madech (Sisters); Dr. Kenneth Darroux – Parliamentary Representative for the Petite Savanne Constituency - (Lady Pros); and Elijah Law Chambers (Thundererz, Thundererz I). Thanks, sponsors, for meeting the teams' uniform and registration expenses.
Continues next edition.