By Lesroy W. Williams
(Molineux Site, St. Kitts) – After two months of fierce competition, the fifth season of the Dr. Timothy Harris sponsored Inner City Basketball League came to a close on Sunday August 17 with Young Guns repeating as champions.
Basketball lovers, fans and constituents came out in a kaleidoscope of color and a spirit of revelry to witness Young Guns and Over de Hill battle for the champions trophy, with Young Guns one game to win and Over de Hill attempting to go on to a fifth game on Saturday August 16.
Young Guns thrashed Over de Hill 70-67 to win the 2008 Dr. Timothy Harris trophy. In the “best of five” games, Young Guns took the title 3-1 while Unexpected beat Taba X-Men for third place on Sunday August 17.
“It’s a very good feeling to be champions once again. It has been tough,” Sylvester “Buzz” Whyte, Captain of Young Guns said in responding to their back to back win.
Calvin Wallace of Young Strivers received the trophy for Most Valuable Player of 2008 while Tambo “Tambi” Caines of Young Guns was the Most Valuable Player in the finals. The closing ceremony of the League took place after the game between Unexpected and Taba X-Men on August 17.
“It has been a great pleasure for me as parliamentary representative to be associated with this league over the past five years. This year’s Inner City Basketball League was a wonderful delight for all of us. I therefore want to commend each and everyone that made it happen. It certainly demonstrated that together we can make it work in Constituency #7,” Dr. Harris said at the closing ceremony.
He thanked in a special way the Organizing Committee and the League Commissioner, Mr. Crace Lewis.
Mr. Lewis in his remarks at the closing ceremony outlined the many successes that the league had achieved over the years and thanked the many sponsors who had supported the league thus far. He said that the objectives of building community through sport as a positive lifestyle as opposed to crime had been achieved.
The league had grown from strength to strength over the years and much of the infrastructure such as player’s jerseys, timing clock, electronic scoreboard, an organizing committee and a website among a few other things are now in place, Mr. Lewis said.
However, there has been much concern and debate about the indiscipline in this year’s league. Not one game started on time; sometimes teams showed up two hours late. There were displays of disrespect shown to referees and a lack of sportsmanship shown by teams on several occasions.
“We have a big problem with games starting on time. For next season we have decided that we are going to put some measures in place,” Mr. Lewis declared. “Games starting late, impact negatively on the league. In the future we are going to use a point system where teams will lose points for being late.”
A bone of contention in this year’s league has been the issue of players acting in the dual role of players and referees in the league. This has created a conflict of interest and prompted speculations of bias.
When asked about this, the League Commissioner said that he recognized that it was a problem but that it was as a result of not having official referees from SKABA because their league was running at the same time.
“It all comes down to a matter of respect. I have noticed that there is respect for only one player in the league who is a referee,” Mr. Lewis stated.
He noted that on some occasions when the official referees from SKABA were available, they came out to Molineux to referee the games. However, he promises to remedy the problem of the availability of official referees for next year’s basketball season.
This year, the league had for the first time a 12-member organizing committee designed to bring about better planning and a more organized league but internal wrangling have brought about the resignation of two committee members who were disgruntled over leadership of the committee.
“I have received two letters of resignation. If people want to resign it’s up to them. I will be addressing this matter with the committee,” Mr. Lewis said.
Third place winners, Unexpected, received $750, bronze medals and a trophy; second place winners, Over de Hill, received $1000, 2c/s drinks, silver medals and a trophy; and first pace winners, Young Guns received $1500, 3c/s drinks, gold medals, trophy and a donation of $100 from Michael Phillip. Other prizes were distributed for helpfulness in the league.