The Turks & Caicos Islands Basketball Federation under 15 National Basketball Team continued its basketball tour of Jamaica that included them competing in an additional three games before jumping on the Intercaribbean flight to return home to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Basketball Federation President, Mr. Sydwell Glasgow, Head Coach Mr. Mervin Forbes and yours truly Trevor Melvin Cooke Secretary-General of the Federation who also assumed the role of assistant coach, when Assistant Coach Mr. Omardi Morris was unable to accompany the group to Jamaica, were witnesses to this historic visit to Jamaica.
This is the first time that a sanction Turks and Caicos Islands national basketball team is touring a regional Caribbean country. This team will be the second Turks and Caicos National basketball team and the first youth basketball team to be inputted into the FIBA data base as a team representing our beloved country.
The last time our country was represented at an official regional event was in 2004 when Turks and Caicos Islands was represented by our senior men’s basketball team and the second time is going to be when this team competes in Puerto Rico in June 2022.
The President, Coach and I together with the spectators who watch the games recognize that they were in the presence of greatness. I am NOT using the term loosely nor am I displaying any type of biasness.
We watched these young men between the ages of 14 and 15 battle young men that were 16 to 19 years of age and held their own. The level of maturity they displayed on the court left me in awe and caused me to ask the questions are these the same young men we had to manage on the bus and in the dorms. Oh well, I am prepared to go to war with them any day of the week because come game time they show up and show out.
The team consisted of the following players: Dylan Morris, Ethan Taylor, Davaurii Daniel, Jhon Cesar, Roldjuson Lacossade, Adin Misick, Rashun Williams, Colnay Joseph, Malachi Missick, Jean-Naldo Joachim, Hakeem Handfield, Isaih Sejour.
The team played its first game on the 20 April 2022. They compete against and overcame the Excelsior High School out of Kingston, Jamaica. They beat them 55 to 48 in a highly competitive basketball game that saw several lead changes during the game.
Four of the five starters were responsible for the bulk of the scoring. Jhon Cesar led the way with 16 points followed by Davaurii Daniel with 11 points, Dylan Morris and Ethan Taylor each chip in 10 points. Roldjudson Lacossade alias RJ brought up the rear with 8 points.
The highlight of the game was when Dylan Morris blocked Excelsior’s 6’3” center by pinning his ball on the backboard to closeout a victory for the Turks and Caicos Islands Under 15 basketball team.
The second games was played on the 21 April at the Jamaican National Stadium. Turks and Caicos Islands Under 15 team took on Majesty Gardens Youth Basketball Team.
Turks and Caicos Islands led for most of the first half and the second half of the match saw Majesty Gardens coming back from a third quarter deficit to regain the lead and held that lead for most of the four quarter except when Turks and Caicos regain the lead with under minute to play.
Majesty Gardens had several opportunities to win the match but was unable to score several uncontested shots. Turks and Caicos Islands won that game 49 to 48 – it was a nail bitter for the players and coaches of both teams.
RJ led all scores for the winning team with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks; Jhon Cesar 13 points; Dylan Morris poured in 8 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, had 3 steals and 2 blocks; Davaurii Daniels scored 6 points, dished out 2 assists and had 1 steal; Ethan Taylor chipped in with 7 points, 2 rebounds and 1 steal and A’din Misick rounded out the scoring by dropping in one point.
The third game was played on the 22 April in G. C. Forster College basketball gym. It was a matchup of Team Turks and Caicos and Campion College. Campion College defeated Team Turks and Caicos 42 to 33. Campion led for most of this game. Team Turks and Caicos only led in the first quarter of this game.
In this game and the fourth game more so than any other game we saw an increase in turnovers that was centered on poor decision making. The coaching staff made a note of the level of turnovers and other weaknesses displayed by the players with a view to strengthening their game between now and the end of June 2022, when we compete in the Regional qualifier scheduled to be played in Puerto Rico, the host country. One of the highlights of this game saw Dylan Morris dunking on the starting five of Campion College not once but twice.
The fourth game was played on the 23 April in G.C. Forster College Basketball gym. Three of the players including our second lead scorer another big that comes of the bench did not play in that game for religious reasons, i.e. it was their Sabbath.
The remaining young men played a great game and led in the early stages of the game. The team lost 58 to 34 points as they got balance scoring from those who played. Here again the team did not take care of the ball and made several lapses in judgement as they defended. Dylan Morris had a double double for that game as he led team Turks and Caicos in scoring for that game with 27 points and 10 rebounds.
The fifth and final game was the most productive game of the trip for team Turks and Caicos. With balance scoring from the whole team. Dylan Morris led all scorers with 17 points. He also chipped in with 7 rebounds. Roldjudson Lacossade added 15 points plus 9 rebounds 2 block shots and one steal as Davaurii Daniel added 9 points, two rebounds and 3 assists and Jhon Cesor scored 7 baskets and added two assists as they defeated Phase One 58 to 35.
The highlight of this game that brought all the spectators to their feet and caused a 3-minute delay in the game was a dunk by Dylan Morris as he caught a rebound in mid-air as it bounced off the backboard and dunked it with two hands. It was a fitting way to end this game and wrap up our last game. He had four dunks during the five-day tour and an awesome block that saw him pinning 6’5” Centre shots to the backboard as he released it.
This trip had a Hollywood ending for the team and Dylan Morris. We saw a group of undersize players holding their own against taller players who were seniors in high school and Dylan Morris, the team’s leading scorer and human highlight film have several individuals representing two high school and one college expressing interest in him.
Thus far the college has made a written offer to Dylan’s guardian. The three interested parties represented schools in Canada, Bahamas and Jamaica.
Kudos to the Turks and Caicos Islands Basketball Federation President, Mr. Sydwell Glasgow, National Team Coach Mr. Mervin Forbes and his coaching staff. This historic event will go down in the annals of Turks and Caicos Islands basketball as one the most successful sporting tours.
A special thanks to Hon. Rachel Taylor for her moral support and assistance in making this trip a reality.