Tishara Morris believes that whatever her male basketball counterparts can do, she can do it too. This belief led the former netball player to join the Herbert Morrison Technical High school female basketball team nearing the end of her school years at the institution.
“When we were training, I always saw the boys playing basketball and the game looked very amazing. I always had an interest in basketball, so when I heard that there was gonna be a girls’ basketball team, I was excited,” she said.
Adding that she was in grade eleven at the time.
She admits that she had to master different skills when she made the transition, but it was made easier with the patient and dedicated coaching of P.H.A.S.E.1’s director of Basketball for Jamaica, Dave Black.
“I had to learn how to move with the ball cause in netball you can’t move with the ball-that’s a rule. Also, the timing that we had to stay in different places, and how you have to dribble only one ball, and stuff like that,” she said. “At first it was very difficult, but my coach was amazing so while we were going over the steps, he made sure that all of us understand the steps and then he moved on. At the beginning, it was very hard for me to go over, but while learning, it was amazing.”
Her hard work paid off when the female basketball team participated in their first competition. Morris excitedly recalls their inexperienced team defeating a more seasoned one.
“Our first match as a team playing for Herbert Morrison, we went out there as a group of girls, not knowing what we’re doing, how we’re gonna do it. We just knew what we learnt from training, and we went out there and we beat a team that has been playing basketball for years for their school,” she said.
The defense player said her team’s success became a beacon for other girls at the institution who had an interest in the sport.
“It's been a while since Herbert Morrison had a female basketball team, so other females were looking up to us, and wanted to join the team. The fact that others are looking up to us, that’s what’s motivating every time I go on the court,” she said.
Morris said she also sources motivation from her role model American professional basketball player, Candace Parker.
“She was the first basketballer I knew when I just started watching basketball. Her story is amazing, she literally brought a team on her back. I love that she knows she’s an amazing basketballer, but she also gives others the time to show their skills,” she said.
Morris is no longer a student at the Herbert Morrison Technical High School, but she continues her basketball journey at the P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy located there while preparing for university. And while she explained that she loves the intensity of the game, it's the therapeutic aspects of it that keep her looking forward to training weekly.
“Basketball is like therapy for me. My coach is amazing, my team is like family to me, I am just at peace when I’m playing basketball. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in my life during the week, once it’s time for training, I’m in a different world.”