Junior League Championship A Cliffhanger
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
July 01, 2012
By: Peter Ngunjiri
One woman’s crusade to engage youth from her village positively was rewarded handsomely Wednesday night when Development Bank Newton Ground Ballers lifted the St. Kitts Amateur Basketball Association junior league championship at the Basketball City.
Ms Enist Parris, founder and coach of the Development Bank Newton Ground Ballers, shed tears of joy after her boys overcame a spirited Sandy Point Fruta Falcons Juniors 72-71 in the last of three finals, with Kyton Blake from her team emerging as the highest scorer after netting 25 points.
The fast and entertaining game saw Development Bank Ballers take an early lead 15-4 at one stage and led all through the first half but with the Sandy Point team steadily narrowing the gap. They were 31-28 at half time. The second half was a cliff-hanger that left wildly cheering spectators on their feet.
After the breather Fruta Falcons Juniors came back with renewed vigour and soon caught up with the Development Bank Ballers to be tied at 33-33, and briefly took the lead with 33-35, but the Development Bank Ballers quickly cancelled the deficit and tied the game at 35-35 and then leaped on to a 59-50 lead.
Match tempo went up in the dying minutes with spectators hotly disputing some calls by the referees. With less than a minute before the end of the match, Development Bank Ballers led by 72-68. The boys from Sandy Point went on the overdrive, but fell short by a single point with the match coming to an end at 72-71 for Development Bank Ballers.
The Fruta Falcons Juniors lost last year’s championships to Blue Devils by a single point as well.
Highest scorer on the Fruta Falcons Juniors was Lewis Welch who returned 22 points. Other high scorers were Shaquille Williams (16) and Stephen Rawlins (15) of Fruta Falcons Juniors, and Geron Elliot (11) and Marvet Elliot (10) of Development Bank Ballers.
“We are first thankful to God because in everything we do we have to put Him first,” said an emotional Ms Parris. “Once you put God first, everything else gonna come through. God knows I was trying my best to bring the youth to engage in positive activities, and I had my little basketball skills that I inculcated in them.”
Ms Parris was a basketball player but her career came to an end in 2007due to injury. She as a result decided to transfer her skills to the youth in her village of Newton Ground by starting a basketball team for young men which she named Newton Ground Ballers.
She shopped around for a sponsor and the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis offered to sponsor the team. To show appreciation to the sponsor, she renamed her team Development Bank Ballers.
Is April this year, when the Development Bank renewed its sponsorship, she promised that even though they did not take part in the junior league last year as she was ill, that she would bring the 2012 championship trophy to the Development Bank. She did it in style on Wednesday night.
Among the first to congratulate the team were the Development Bank’s General Manager Mr Lenworth Harris, and the bank’s Human Resources Officer Ms Coralee Benjamin.
“I just want to say much thanks to the Development Bank for having come to our aid,” said Ms Parris. “They have been behind me for three years now and I just want to thank God for them, and I hope this championship would encourage them to even stay behind me more.”
A practising Christian, Ms Parris ensures that the team members pray before every match. On the road to the championship, they lost to the third placed team, Molineux Strivers, and to Hitters. In the best of three finals, they lost the first game to the Fruta Falcons Juniors, but went ahead to win the second one and the last one. All three games were very close and competitive.