Regional

Coaches hail Caribbean Hoopfest

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer

Thursday, August 24, 2017

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The third Caribbean Hoopfest that was held at the Montego Bay Community College last weekend has been commended by the three overseas coaches who were involved in the event, won by Team NYC out of New York.

Six teams took part in the three-day event - two from New York, one from Canada, two from Montego Bay and one from Kingston.

The tournament was open to high school-aged players between13 and 17 years old, most of whom were participating in an international competition for the first time.

The event, which was held two years ago at Cornwall College before moving to the Montego Bay Convention Centre last year, and then to the Montego Bay Community College, was organised by a New York group headed by Donald Francois and Stephanie Halstead.

Team NYC beat Team Canada in overtime in the final after defeating the other New York team, Team Beetz, in a close semi-final. Winning coach Herb Legree praised the level of talent he saw on display.

“It's a wonderful experience,” he told the Jamaica Observer West on Sunday's final day. “It's been very enlightening to play here. What I find here is the kids here are making great strides and improving in their basketball skills.”

Legree, whose team included one player with a link to Montego Bay, added, “it's been a great experience for the kids and interesting to play against other players from other countries and they are seeing that others are catching up with the USA … the game is being expanded.”

Trevor Poyser, a Jamaican who lives in Canada and coaches the Jamaica national team, said it was a great experience for his players as well.

“So far it's been pretty good,” he said, explaining that his team had a mixture of boys from Canada and some from the Jamaica national junior team.

“It's been a great experience for them, especially the younger ones have benefited as they get to see what basketball is like at the other level,” he explained.

Christopher Beetz, who led Team Beetz, said the event was great for Montego Bay and Jamaica as well as the players who participated.

“I think it's a great thing what they do for Jamaica every year to bring this tournament here to this country. I enjoy it, my kids love it and it is so inspiring to watch and see what the people here have to work with. This was absolutely tremendous for all of us and my family. what a vacation!” Beetz exclaimed.

He pointed out that his players ranged between 15 and 17 years old, noting that the big difference was “learning new rules, we played under FIBA rules and we have never done this before, but it was great, lots of hard work, but on a whole it as great, even the refs were great, they did wonderful.”

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