By Loshaun Dixon
Basseterre, St. Kitts-
The recent successes of the St. Kitts National Basketball team at the Leeward Island Basketball Tournament can be used to re-energize basketball in St. Kitts and Nevis according to one official from the St. Kitts and Nevis Basketball Association (SKNABA).
The St. Kitts team dominated the tournament played in Anguilla this past weekend recording an undefeated campaign as they defeated the British Virgin Islands and Barbuda in the preliminary round before crushing Montserrat 64-52 in the Semi Finals.
St. Kitts crushed the BVI team for a second time in the Finals 73-57 to capture the title for the first time in 15 years.
Wallis Wilkin, General Secretary for SKNABA, told The Observer this victory could help the team take basketball in the Federation to another level.
“We are going to use this victory as a re-ignition of local basketball development I think basketball has been pretty stagnant over the last three years. Hopefully this will help to catapult us again to progress the game and develop the game in a positive direction,” he said.
Mr. Wilkin described the team’s performance as “exceptional” stating not only did they go undefeated but they won all the games by double digits.
“ It was a very impressive tournament for St. Kitts and a very impressive performance by the team. It was a very good showing for us. It shows that despite the many challenges locally in basketball we still can play a high level of basketball as far as the sub region is concerned,” he said.
He praised the Head Coach of the team former parliamentarian Glen ‘Ghost’ Phillip for his role in the victory.
“I think Glen Phillip did an exceptional job. As the coach he was able to bring a very tight knit and efficient team together. We did not necessarily had the best players but definitely had the best team at that tournament,” he declared.
Wilkin said the victory indicates that basketball is at a very high level when compared to the sub region despite challenges faced and not consistently participating in tournaments.
“The victory says a number of things for basketball in St. Kitts and Nevis. It gives us a good idea of how the local standard of basketball stacks up in the sub region. Because we haven’t been participating consistently in sub regional and regional tournaments we were not able to get a true picture of the level of our standard of basketball compared to the other islands,” he said.
He highlighted some of the challenges faced by basketball administrators in the federation.
“We still have a long way to go in terms of facilities. For years and years we have been lobbying for an indoor facility, and hopefully that is on the horizon hopefully sooner rather than later. Once we get that it will take basketball to the next level,” he stated.
The Leeward Island basketball tournaments started in 1984. The first tournament was held in St. Kitts and is a tournament that was held annually. However from about 2002 until 2014 it was dormant. In 2014 the Leeward Island Basketball Association re-established the tournament