Women of Valor attract Floridians

A local basketball team hopes to establish a fresh link to Florida.

The Women of Valor club could be hosting teams from Palm Beach in the near future after attending another round of summer basketball camps in the area. Club member Ray Doxey said the initiative could develop into part of Cayman’s sports tourism portfolio.

“Our team was invited to take part in the Bill Tome Summer Basketball Classic, sponsored by the Boynton Beach Recreation Department at the Ezell Hester Jr. Community Center,” Doxey said. “This classic included male and female teams from the Palm Beach County and New York City area. It was a very intense series and something which our female and male players need to experience much more often so they learn how to play away from their home court.

“Boynton Beach Recreation Specialist Joe Evans is very keen to have our teams return in the future, plus some discussions occurred for teams to possibly come to Cayman to play. This lends itself to another leg of our sports tourism, which has recently been a hot topic.

“It will help if some proper basketball facilities for the players are made available so we can see these types of things come to fruition. Coach Redver Ebanks has worked hard to develop relationships with the different schools, coaches and organizations in the U.S. so our athletes can see opportunities open up and, hopefully, get scholarships without costs.”

The Women of Valor attended the classic last month with 11 players and three delegates in Ebanks, Doxey and Debra Smith. The group spent most of its time in summer camps at Nova Southeastern University in Davie and Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach.

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. The team’s first-ever championship feature stellar performances from Chloe Powery, April Ebanks, Hannah Parchment and Khalian O’Connor. Redver Ebanks serves as Welly’s head coach and the Women of Valor founder.

Doxey said the summer camps paved the way for college recruiting and more opportunities to showcase local talent.

“At Palm Beach Atlantic, the camp resulted in one of our players being offered a scholarship along with positive interest in a some of our other players. Up next is the Nike Show-n-Prove individual showcase at Palm Beach Atlantic on Sept. 28-29. It is attended by top scouts and coaches of various colleges from around the U.S. Last year, two of our players attended with one player receiving a letter of interest from Penn State University.

“Our deepest thanks go out to all the people who supported the girls at our various bake sales and fund raising activities. We also wish to express a huge thank you to: Domino’s Pizza, Agave Grill, Joel Jefferson, Ervin Horvath, Andy Stepaniuk and Phil Michael.

“They have always shown support for the young ladies and their further development. In these tough economic times, it is hard to get things together for this type of training and we appreciate everything that everyone has done for us.”