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Four schoolgirls in senior line-up

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

Four schoolgirls in senior line-up

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Apparently the future couldn’t wait any longer.

Basketball’s women’s programme has really fast-tracked its rebuilding project after selecting six newcomers, including four schoolgirls, on the senior national side for next week’s FIBA Caribbean Cup in Suriname.

Head coach Terry Inniss confirmed the news yesterday following a two-game series with the First Division Tridents team, where he named teenagers Zahra Ashby, Tower Lorde, Rashanna Thorne and Denver high-schooler Deidre Lassiter to the final 12-member roster.

“We had to start rebuilding our team and the programme with some sense of purpose and we felt this was definitely the year to start that seeing we still have key veterans like Astrid Alleyne and Toni Atherley around to guide them,” explained Inniss.

“They’re not even 20 yet so once they continue with their natural progression then you’re looking at the nucleus of our national team for a very, very long period.


Skills to help

“You’re only going to rotate about eight to ten players at that level of competition but we still felt that they have the skill sets and ability to help us in some areas on the court and we had to make some tough decisions on who were available to us and who had the necessary fitness and skill levels,” he added.

Thorne, Lorde and Ashby played pivotal roles on an Under-16 national team that finished fifth at the Caribbean Basketball Confederation’s Tournament two years ago before they led the Lady Tridents to the women’s league final in the same season.

And Lassiter is the daughter of former national player Vicky Depeiza.

But their selections still come as, a huge surprise considering Barbados will be missing the overseas-based duo of Jamila Studer and Dale-Marie Cumberbatch from a squad that barely missed out on the 2015 regional final.

And those teenagers join two other debutants in volleyballer Anicia Wood and American Shakila Small.

Highly-touted combo

However, Small, who is the daughter of former national forward Andy Straker, comes in as a highly-touted combo forward having played four years at the NCAA Division I level at major collegiate programme Oklahoma State University.

She is expected to form the centre- piece of a potent nucleus that includes Atherley, Alleyne, Maria Cumberbatch and Tamisha Flatts.

“Our goal is to score at least 50 to 60 points a game and we should be able to accomplish that with Toni, Shakila, Flatts, Astrid and Maria. Once we do that then the aim is to defend those sorts of tallies and I think we should be successful at this level,” Inniss explained.

“We’re in a zone with the Dominican Republic, Guyana and Suriname and our mantra is “one game at a time” so the goal is to win at least two of those games to get into the semi-finals and see what happens from there.

“We don’t know what Suriname is bringing because they’ve been out of competition for quite a while now but we’ve seen what Guyana and the Dominican Republic have before so I think we should be okay,” he added. (JM)

SQUAD: Tamisha Flatts (captain), Toni Atherley, Astrid Alleyne, Maria Cumberbatch, Ria Phillips, Ashlee Daniel, Shakila Small, Anicia Wood, Deidre Lassiter, Tower Lorde, Zahra Ashby, Rashanna Thorne, Terry Inniss (head coach), Ianthum Alleyne (assistant coach).