Girls basketball team return home winners
The Bermuda girls youth national basketball team returned to the Island after finishing as the top team at the Keystone Tournament.
The team of Anna Gilliatt, Inshan-nae Smith, Demiqua Daniels, Siyaunne Hall, LeiLanni Nesbeth, Kyrah McRae, Kaylee Lema, Chanara Smith-Rookes, and Alea Whorms ompeted against teams from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
On the first day of competition, Bermuda beat Pope John XXIII (New Jersey) 27-14 before beating Mifflin City (Pennsylvania) 44-28.
Coach Erica Woods had this to say about their results, “The first game against Pope John XXIII saw the girls start off slow, having had two days off from competition. However it wasn't long before co-captain Anna Gilliatt took charge after opening up with a few easy buckets. Newcomer Nesbeth also proved to be a defensive prowess, forcing numerous turnovers which saw Bermuda capitalise on countless fast break opportunities. Once the team got started, it took the lead and never looked back.
“The second game against Mifflin City saw multiple players get quality minutes as our defensive scheme constantly disrupted the opposing team's offensive game plan. Bermuda jumped out to an early lead headed by veteran Inshan-nae Smith who found the gaps early and was relentless in her attacks.
This propelled the entire team as our veterans stepped up and took control of the game which gave the younger players a boost of confidence. Kaylee Lema and Nesbeth stepped up defensively with their on-the-ball defence, working together to create turnovers. Our post players Chanara Smith-Rookes, Inshan-nae Smith and Alea Whorms, grabbed numerous rebounds to secure possession for us. In the end the girls pulled off a 44-28 victory.”
On the second day of competition, the Bermuda Girls played four games against Lake Leman (PA) (twice), Southern Huntingdon (PA) and Johnson City (NY), winning all four as the team used a stifling and stingy defence to overpower their opponents on the way to a 4-0 record for the day and a 6-0 record for the event.
On the final day of the contest, a tired Bermuda team was unable to hold off their opponents in an early morning game but still came away with the best record in the event.
Charles Peters, president of the BBYF, praised the team's efforts. “Our girls youth national team is officially on the map,” said Peters.
“There was a wide array of teams from different US states and the ease with which our girls' team was able to compete with players from their similar age groups proves that our players are ready to take on greater challenges. Coaches and scouts from the event gave our ladies a glaring assessment and this is just the beginning.
“Basketball in Bermuda has been steadily growing since the inception of the BBYF and its member programmes. We have now come to a point where players will get improved opportunities for local and overseas development, recruiting, and advancement. As we establish relationships with coaches across the United States and Canada, they have consistently voiced to us a desire to work directly with our national programme on recruiting opportunities.
“In the coming year you will begin to see positive outcomes as a result of these relationships. I would like to thank coach Erica Woods and coach Lakeisha Bell for a job well done.”
Keystone Camps has over 4,000 campers annually for its basketball camps, shoot-outs and tournaments and has been hosts to hundreds of college basketball players and coaches. Keystone's notable alumni include players like Tamika Catchings, Tanigha Wright, and numerous other WNBA players.
Added Peters: “The BBYF is the official youth national basketball programme of Bermuda as sanctioned by the Bermuda Basketball Association. The BBYF would like to send thanks to our sponsors for supporting our domestic and international programmes ... Qatar Re, Argus, Orbis Investment Management Limited, International Financial Planning, Bermuda CableVision, Mailboxes Unlimited, and all other the private donors who wish to remain anonymous.”
Anyone interested in supporting youth basketball in Bermuda or to have a young player try out for the national team should contact the BBYF at email@example.com.