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Zero Tolerance League: Exciting Basketball, Weak Parental Support

Sept. 3, 2007 — After six strong years in the territory, the Zero Tolerance Basketball League still suffers from a lack of support from parents, officials said after the league's annual Labor Day basketball tournament kicked off Friday at Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School.
Looking around the stands on Saturday, Zero Tolerance President Boyd "Boyzie" Todman noted that only "a couple" of parents had turned out to see the teams play.
"Where are the parents?" he asked. "If we had one parent for every child in the league, there would be at least 48 parents here today. But we have less than 10. Your parents should be here. They are supposed to support you in your school work, basketball and other extracurricular activities — not just drop you off and leave."
Echoing Todman's comments, Gov. John deJongh Jr. also spoke about the need for more parental involvement. However, deJongh also sought to send a stronger message to the students — one that stressed the importance of staying in school.
Reflecting on his childhood, deJongh said he once had to choose between graduating from high school or continuing to play on the basketball team while his grades declined.
"What did I do?” he said. “I didn't play basketball my senior year. I decided going to school was more important. That's the example we have to set for young kids in the Virgin Islands. If you guys want to be big basketball stars, that's OK — I want to help you get there. But you should do so by working with your parents and other adults, but mostly through staying in school. Walk out of high school and go to another level with your education — that's when the opportunities will really open up."
Despite the somber start on Saturday, the tournament as a whole kept spectators on their feet for the entire two days. While only three teams participated, the tournament was played in a round-robin style and boasted nine action-packed games. The champion, according to organizers, would be the first team with three wins.
Starting out on Friday, Brothers lost by one point to Ain't Gonna See Us Fall, 65-64. The team tried to turn their momentum around on Saturday, as they took on Lights Out, who also made their debut on Friday. Lights Out had already lost their first game to Sky's The Limit 63-48. With one loss each, both teams needed this game to maintain any hope of winning the tournament.
Brothers won the game by a narrow margin, beating Lights Outs 59-57.
Ain't Gonna See Us Fall followed, taking on Sky's The Limit. Both teams were 1-0 coming into the game and needed the win to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Favored as the best team in the tournament, Sky's The Limit fell to the talented Ain't Gonna See Us Fall 60-53.
Sky's The Limit pulled out a one-point victory over Brothers in the next game, 52-51. In order for Sky's The Limit — with a 2-1 record — to have a chance at winning the tournament, the team needed Lights Out to pull off an impressive victory over Ain't Gonna See Us Fall, whose record was now 2-0.
Unfortunately it was lights out for Lights Out, who lost to Ain't Gonna See Us Fall 65-44, giving Coach Raheem Smith the Zero Tolerance championship title.
The MVP for the tournament was Ain't Gonna See Us Fall's Azamba Galloway, who averaged 15.6 points per game and a tournament-high 24 points on Friday.
The most outstanding player this year was Jerrick Amaro of Brothers. The best sportsmanship award went to 12-year-old Sekayi Petersen of Sky's the Limit, who was also the youngest player in the tournament.
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