Basketball players

BVI basketball players show courage in the face of defeat

The BVI women’s 3×3 basketball team that competed at this year’s Commonwealth Games. (Photo credit Charlie Jackson)

While the BVI Women’s Commonwealth Games 3×3 Basketball Team were to take a beating from their far more experienced overseas counterparts, the team showed courage and fight and showed exactly how well she can perform on the major stage.

Caught off guard by a slow and nervous start in Game 1 and a 6-22 loss to Canada, the team of Shauliqua Fahie, Makayla Pickering, Joy Victor and Keithreece Smith bounced back and gave it their all against the semi- professionals, college graduates and league players.

A press release from the BVI Commonwealth Games Committee said Fahie scored the first international points in the BVI record books from the free-throw line against Canada with nearly three minutes Pickering made a two-pointer to make the score line 3-5, but despite further points from Smith and Victor, the Canadians had steadily taken the lead enough to be in control of speed at the end.

“We played well for our first game, but we had to work on our spacing,” Pickering said.

Smith thought the level hadn’t been as high as she expected and Fahie appreciated the crowd support but knew her teammates had more to offer.

“We need to focus on what we need to do and get more points on the board,” she said.

Canada had a good game plan and certainly got the BVI team thinking about how to compete.

“They took us a bit by surprise,” Victor said. “It was rougher than I thought it would be, a much tougher level of contact.”

As the BVI women next faced off against England, they took on the hosts with a tenacious and intense defense to leave their opponents scratching their heads for a new game plan and only half a point clear with nearly half of the ten-minute game time. Finished.

Time and time again, Fahie, Victor, Pickering and Smith have stood up to England, learning the aggressive nature of international sport, turning defense into quick attack on transition plays and, with a little more composure in shooting , could have sent England on their way to the arena with their heads bowed in front of the mostly partisan crowd.

However, England’s Hannah Jump found a crucial streak when it mattered most and steered her anxious side to the 21-point mark and a nerve-wracking victory.

How relieved England were to claim victory was clear to all as her teammates rushed to the marsh leap and lifted her above their shoulders as she fired home a third consecutive two-pointer.

BVI – who got three points from Victor and a feature in the tournament highlights reel – also got a point each from Smith and Fahie and left the pitch with their heads held high and with enthusiastic support.

“We knew we had to improve and we did a lot better than the first game,” Smith said.

“I felt like I was physically fighting there!” Victor said. “England came to us on a different level and realized I had to hold on and start fighting back. It was a tough day!”

“We played a lot better and gave them our best, we made them fight for their win and I’m proud of us,” Fahie said.

“We were much better on the rebound and definitely improved from last game,” Pickering said.

Coach Eric Mattias thought his girls had done well, but admitted they were probably not ready for the level of aggressive play. However, the team will learn and can only improve.

The third and final match saw New Zealand take on BVI and hold their opponents for the full ten minutes, before losing 5-19. (A match lasts either ten minutes, or the first at 21).

“We did well as a team and played better than the first two games,” Smith said. Fahie echoed those sentiments, saying, “Our defense just keeps getting better and we’re giving teams a hard time.”

Overall, in the three group games, Fahie had seven points and 10 rebounds, Smith had two points and three rebounds, Pickering had three points with nine rebounds, and Victor contributed four points and 14 rebounds.

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