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When, on 17th September 2017 Hurricane Maria battered Dominica – including the Roseau Valley, among other things the storm took lives, destroyed homes, triggered thousands of landslides, caused devastating flooding, and destroyed millions of forest and crop trees. That Category 5 storm also negatively impacted many of the island's programmes, including sports, basketball being no exception.

But one thing that Maria could not take away from Dominicans is our resilience! In fact, while the 2017 national basketball league was never completed, no thanks to Maria, three major basketball competitions which served as quasi-national leagues tipped off in 2018. The Kelver Darroux Basketball League was successfully run from May 2018, followed by DABA/DOC Business League, and then the Ronald Charles Roseau Valley (RCRV) Basketball League which saw action from October 2018 through May 2019. Those leagues certainly helped fill the void in competitive basketball occasioned by Maria and were very much welcome by players and fans alike.

The RCRV Basketball League attracted teams from communities situated within and beyond the geographical boundaries of the Roseau Valley. The competition drew representation from Castle Bruce, Cockrane, Goodwill and Grand Bay, in addition to communities from the Roseau Valley proper, viz., Morne Prosper, Roseau Central, Trafalgar and Wotten Waven. A team representing the Police Sports Club also participted in the League, which was sponsored by Ronald Charles (from the Roseau Valley), the law firm of Ronald Charles & Associates, and a number of private individuals.

In alphabetical order, the eight participating teams were:- Castle Bruce, Cockrane, Morne Prosper, Police Sports Club, Roseau Improvement Committee/RIC Risers (a.k.a. Roseau Central), SWOT from Goodwill, Ronald Charles Trafalgar Benchers and Wotten Waven Sulphurs; those teams als included "outside" players. Two other teams, viz, Pichelin Falcons and Veterans had initially expressed interest in participating in the league however they subsequently withdrew their enthusiasm.

Upholding tradition, the RCRV Basketball League opened with a Ball-o-rama as part of the opening ceremony, with Castle Bruce emerging as Champs.

The format of the League turned out to be somewhat flexible. Initially, the organisers had planned for the participating teams to be divided into two zones, with a "Round-Robin" in each zone, followed by a Play-Off Finals between the top two teams from each zone. But with a few teams not showing up for games, the format was modified to a Round-Robin competition, followed by the two top teams engaging each other in a Best-of-Three Play-Off Finals, which began in February 2019.

The League's eight participating teams all vied for finalist places in the Play-Offs.

As with any local basketball competition, there were close games… and there blow-outs of weaker teams. One such crushing defeat occurred when Castle Bruce more than doubled Trafalgar Benchers' score, 75-35. Samples of high individual player-scores were 31 Pts sunk by Jonathan Mills of SWOT, and 26 Pts scored by Julian Isles Jr. of Wotten Waven Sulphurs and Edmund Williams Jr. of Police Sports Club respectively.

The 2018-2019 Roseau Valley Basketball League can be described as having been fairly competitive and highly entertaining, although crowd turnout could have been better. And, of course, the weather at times did not co-operate. It must be noted that the games were played at Trafalgar, which is sometimes referred to as being adjacent to the Roseau Valley's "rain factory".

Going home proudly with awards at the end of the League were two teams and two individual players. RIC Risers, who defeated Trafalgar Benchers 2-1 in the Play-Off finals, walked away with the League Championship Trophy while Castle Bruce was judged to be the Most Disciplined Team in the competition. Also on the winners' podium were Benchers' Elvis St. Jean who took home the Most Improved Player Award, and McRay Edwards of RIC Risers raising the League's MVP Award trophy.

The League's closing ceremony, which was held on 24th May 2019, also included an All-Star game which followed the addresses and awards presentation.

Dunstan "Maggie" Peters served as League Coordinator and a referee, and he was assisted by other court officials – Charles Hodge, Josiah Modeste, McClean St. Jean and Craig St. Rose. Table officiating duties were performed by a team comprising Ray Charles, Roy, Danny and Laurent.

Premium Sponsor of the post-Maria Roseau Valley Basketball League, Ronald Charles, is very grateful to all who contributed to making that League a success, either through playing, co-sponsoring, on-court and table-officiating, or supporting by devoted patrons.

Jump Ball thanks Ronald and "Maggie" for their contributions. Statistical information obtained from DA Vibes and Dominica News Online.


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