C.H. Dewey High school of Bomi County has sealed their historic first upcountry basketball championship after trashing holders and host Ganta United Methodist School (GUMS) in an entertaining final at the Ganta United Methodists gymnasium in Ganta, Nimba County.
It was certainly a historic feat in the dominant fashion in which they outclassed the defending champions. With highest post war holder St. Martins Catholic School of Bong County absent, many basketball pundits had predicted GUMS to retain the title.
But the unexpected happened as the champions managed to bait GUMS in the first quarter, and scooped the rest of the quarters in a blissful manner.
C. H. Dewey began their journey to the championship in Group A with a 52-7 demolition of Lutheran Training Institute (LTI). They made it two wins out of two this time with a hardly fought 18-13 over Brumskine of Grand Bassa. They finally got maximum points in their third match with no sweat following the failure of Bong County based St. Martins to show up. They ended top of the group thus booking a semi-final meeting with Gboveh High of Bong County, a game they won, to book a final with Ganta United Methodist School, who beat their Methodist counterparts Tubman Gray United Methodist School of Bong County in the first semi-final.
The grand finals, which attracted huge fans at the jam-packed Ganta United Methodist sports gymnasium, witnessed the host surrendering the title to C.H. Dewey School 44 – 38 points thus marking the trophy of the tournament.
C.H. Dewey will be proud as they also added to their collection of trophies individual accolades with Francis Fayiah wining the Most Valuable Player and Highest Scorer, with 76 points. Another C. H. Dewey player Eddie Nyanfor scooped the Best Guard and Highest Assist awards.
C. H. Dewey’s coach Ralph Varmah crowned their illustrious journey wining the Best Coach award.
Zorzor based Lutheran Training Institute (LTI), least performer at the tournament, got a rather consolatory Most Discipline and Best Fair Play Team awards.
Presenting the trophies, Youth and Sports Minister Saah N’tow hailed the participants for the level of discipline and good sportsmanship exhibited during the tournament.
Minister N’Tow praised the leadership exhibited by his deputy Henry Yonton who fought against all odds to make the tournament a success.
“When I look at months back and the delay in budget passage, it was becoming increasing clear that we would have had some hitches but it all turned green when we got a report from the Deputy Minister that the tournament will be held. This I call good leadership. We equally want to thank the participating teams for the high level of discipline exhibited throughout the event,” Minister N’Tow said.
He thanked Srimex, Oragon, Aminata, NPA, Liberia Petroleum, Carter Center, Right To Play, Manco, Jungle Water and the biggest the Government of Liberia for the sponsorship.
The tournament MVP Francis Fayiah told reporters that they were very excited to have achieved this feat on a journey many in Nimba had termed as mere participatory.
“I am so happy we got this. When I think days back as we boarded the bus for Nimba some of my friends told me that the McGowan Tournament showcases the best teams in High School basketball so we were underdogs. We waved goodbye and headed for the tournament, I told my teammates about the low expectation of our fans back home and how we needed to do something to protect the name of our school and above all the names of our families,” he stated.
Fayiah then thanked his teammates for the dedication and hard work that served as catalyst for their success.
The annual Herold McGowan upcountry basketball tournament is held every November in memory of a former American Peace Corp volunteer who used basketball as a vehicle to encourage youth in education especially in the rural areas.
The participated teams were: Group A: C. H. Deway (Bomi); Lutheran Training Institute (LOFA); Charles Brunskine Institute (G. Bassa); Tubman Gray High United Methodist School (Bong); and St. Martins Catholic School (Bong) by forfeit.
In Group B: Ganta United Methodist School (Nimba); Carroll High; St. Marys Catholic School (Nimba); and Gboveh High (Bong).