(Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper)

Antigua & Barbuda will host the 2017 Leeward Islands Basketball Association U19 tournament slated to begin on August 23 at the JSC Sports Complex.

Coach Mahijah Davis spoke to OBSERVER media yesterday on the Good Morning Jojo sports programme about the preparation of the Antigua and Barbuda team.

“Well we are at our peak right now. We just have to make one more cut but we are at a pretty good spot right now. We have fifteen young men practicing right now but we need twelve to actually play in the league. So we have to cut three more. Its not easy to cut, all of them are pretty good …” Davis said.

He added that despite the fact that several players have just returned from a tournament in Guyana and would have taken part in the school league, he is not worried about fatigue. He said that the players are still young and growing therefore they have the energy needed to push through.

The coach also highlighted that more practice time and repetition would actually help the youngsters. He believes that hosting the tournament actually gives the home team an advantage and that it would be difficult for them to lose in their own backyard.

President of the Antigua & Barbuda Basketball Association, Daryl Matthew, explained how Antigua ended up hosting the tournament.

“We felt that it was too important a tournament for us and our youngsters for it not to have a host. As a member of the executive of the Leeward Islands Basketball Association and as far back as two years ago, St Maarten had indicated that they wanted to host this tournament. They were not able to do so last year so it went to Montserrat then and at the last minute again this year they indicated again that they were unable to do it,” Matthew explained.

The president added that too much work has been done to revitalize the sport in Antigua for the tournament to fall by the wayside. He highlighted that the Anchorage Inn gave the association cheap rates to accommodate the five regional teams coming in for the tournament. These teams include, St Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and St Maarten.