The Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School (BCB) Blazers basketball team returned to the territory Monday, Oct. 31, as champions of the 2016 COPA Bacalar Basketball Tournament, which had been held Oct. 28-30 in Chetumal, Mexico.
The 18-member team was met by an entourage of supporters from the Department of Education, Department of Tourism and members of the community when they arrived at the Cyril E. King airport at 3:20 p.m.
The Blazers were the standout team at the international tournament, winning in all six playoff and semifinal games, to include the championship game, with a 64-24 victory over the Toros of Tabasco, Mexico. Team captain Khailieo Terry led the student athletes to victory, making him the tournament’s MVP.
“The boys had a great time, despite the language barrier; they blended well with the other teams,” said Head Coach Ricky Mabry. “They treated them like celebrities.”
Coach Mabry pointed out that while tournament rules allowed for only 12 players to be on the roster, he traveled with 18 players because he “wanted to give these kids another outlook on life.” He went on to explain that in order for all 18 students to get a chance on the hardcourt, he rotated team members to stay within the tournament’s 12-person limit.
“I picked this group of guys because they stuck into the concept of what a student-athlete is supposed to be,” he said. “I challenged this set of students mentally and physically. I believe that in order for a student to understand the concept of being a student-athlete, we have to reward them, so I do by trying to give them this kind of exposure.”
BCB Principal Carver Farrow traveled with the team. “Stick around BCB, you’ll find we do well in most of the sports,” he said. “However, it’s not all about the sports game; we make sure they do their work before they can play. It’s all about discipline and balance.”
The annual COPA Bacalar Tournament is sponsored by Gatorade. The BCB Blazers participated in the 15-and-under division.