THE 2012-2013 ISSA/KFC Schools Basketball League got underway at GC Foster College on Wednesday with an Opening Ceremony, Dress Parade and a few matches.
Eighty-four teams from across the four Conferences turned up for the ceremony, with newcomers Steer Town High walking away with the Best Dressed Award.
Some 39 schools will compete in the Junior tournament and 45 in the Under-19 Senior competition. The first round in each Conference will be played on a round-robin basis, with the top four teams moving on to the semi-finals. The semi-final winners will advance to the finals, all of which will be best-of-three series.
Twelve teams from the four Conference will then qualify for the National Championship — four each from the Southern and Central divisions and two each from the Western and Northern regions.
Meanwhile, at the end of this year's competition, an All-Stars Team will be selected to play in an elite tournament.
KFC's marketing executive Ryan Silvera said her company values this competition because it helps to build young men and provide an avenue to improve their lives and those of their families.
"Our nation's future is the youth, so KFC is on board with youths... and is always dedicated to basketball throughout the years... We are dedicated to keep it growing," he said.
ISSA president Dr Walton Small encouraged the players to balance sport with the academics: "There are big bucks to be gained from basketball... the first contract Samardo Samuels signed was for U$500,000... and you can do that," he said.
"But without the academics it cannot work, so there must be a balance between playing and the academics," Dr Small added.
In matches played on Wednesday, Cornwall College blew away Spot Valley, 58-9, with 20 points from Tevin Brown and 17 from Travis Whyte in the Western Conference opener.
In the Central opening match, Munro College stopped Manchester High, 35-28, with a game-high 12 points from Jonathan Bamadele.
Action in the Western Conference will get going today with St James High versus Muschette High in both Junior and Senior competitions, and William Knibb versus Irwin High in the Junior league.
Action in the Southern and Northern Conferences also get into full gear today, while the Central leagues begin on Monday.