Champs hope to soar through camps

Cayman’s top women’s basketball team is looking to overseas camps to reap huge dividends.

The Women of Valour club is travelling to Florida next month to take part in the Nova Southeastern University Elite Camp II on 3-4 August and the Palm Beach Atlantic University Elev8/Ganon Baker Elite Camp on 7-9 August. Most squad members are part of the Welly’s Cool Spot team that won the Cayman Islands Basketball Association 2013 National Women’s League crown.

Guiding the ladies is Redver Ebanks, Welly’s head coach and the Women of Valour founder, who says his girls will make great strides.

“The players that go to these camps have more experience than the Cayman players, not necessarily more skills, just more familiarity with the set-up,” Ebanks said. “The games are high intensity and over long periods of time, most times all day (say 9am-5pm or 9am-9pm). Going to the camps for one week, they can accomplish more than they could over two months in Cayman.

“The intensity and amount of learning will equate to two months of practice in Cayman. That’s quite a jump.”

Nova Southeastern, based in Fort Lauderdale, compete in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletics Association. The Cayman girls took part in phase one of the Sharks camp back in June. Ray Doxey served as one of the trip organisers and said it went well.

“We are hoping to be able to take at least 10 players from the Women of Valour to attend the August camps,” Doxey said.

“A squad of five young ladies attended Elite Camp I in June with good feedback from the coaches and it is important in their development to get back to show the coaching staff at Nova how they have improved after their summer practices, gym and track workouts under the direction of coach Redver and coach Billy Fenton.

“Also on our previous visit, the girls toured Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach. School principal Dr. Christine Higgins not only spoke to the team about athletics but about being a well-rounded student who is involved in other school/community activities, which is what universities are looking for today.”

Welly’s are coming off their first-ever women’s title after beating Carmen Picate’s Wolves in the national finals. Chloe Powery and April Ebanks guided the Cool Spot to victory.

Redver Ebanks states the championship was far from expected.

“At the beginning of the season, we basically didn’t have our eye on winning the championship. Age development comes first. As the season progressed, we were in contention to win the whole thing. We never changed the focus but because the girls focused the way we wanted them to, we got the push to finish off the season strong.

“In addition, some of the girls won individual awards as April was the rebounding champion, Hannah Parchment was the Finals Most Valuable Player, Khalian O’Connor was Most Improved and Chloe Powery was league MVP and defensive champion.

“A special thanks goes out to Welly’s, who have sponsored the team for eight seasons. In these economic times, it’s good to know there’s still a business that believes in supporting young people and I couldn’t ask for better sponsors.”