Dominican Travel Blog - Day 6: La Romana Orphanage
Monday, August 15, 2011
By Trevor Garrett
Dominican Travel Blog - Day 6: La Romana Orphanage

JUAN DOLIO, D.R. - In their final day in the Dominican Republic, the Bisons basketball team visited La Romana Orphanage in the morning and played their final exhibition game in the evening, a 92-83 victory against La UASD.

Click on the image to play a video from La Romana
Click here to view a photo gallery from La Romana

Monday morning the Bisons departed the hotel at 8:30 a.m. local time to visit the La Romana Orphanage.  La Romana is located 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Juan Dolio near the southeast part of Hispaniola. On our way we stopped at JUMBO again to pick up enough food for two meals at the orphanage.

La Romana currently has 140 girls living there.  They don't have enough beds for the girls as seven girls sleep on the floor and several more actually share a bed.  Boys from another orphanage a couple blocks away also came for our visit.

Stephanie Walton, wife of assistant coach Jay Walton, and her church Sunday school class had prepared backpacks for each player and staff member that included items like coloring books, crayons, chalk, and puzzles. 

The team spent about two hours playing with the children outside before taking a tour of the orphanage.  La Romana spends about $11,000 USD per month on food which equates to 87 cents per meal per child.  The complex includes a church which the children attend five days a week and is open to the community.  It also has a school that goes up to sixth grade.

Because of the overcrowding, La Romana is attempting to raise $1.8 million dollars to expand its size.  Professional baseball player Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals gave a $600,000 gift to the orphanage which has allowed them to begin construction.

The stop at the orphanage was another great example to the team of how blessed we are in America.  With only four staff members, the older girls at the orphanage are essentially surrogate mothers for the young orphans acting on collective responsibility to raise each other.

In the evening the Bisons boarded two mini-buses to travel to Santo Domingo for their fourth and final exhibition of the "foreign tour" allowed every four years under NCAA rules.

They defeated the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo 92-83 behind 20 points and 10 rebounds from freshman forward Malcolm Smith.  The "Santo Domingo Autonomous University" is the oldest university in the Americas and was founded in 1538.

The Bisons opened up a 27-16 lead after the first quarter but La UASD did not go away coming back to take a 55-54 lead with 5:36 to play in the third quarter. 

Coming out of a timeout with the game tied at 60, Lipscomb went on an 11-0 run.  While La UASD continued to battle, the Bisons made several key defensive stops in the final minutes of the game to ensure the victory and a perfect 4-0 sweep of their Dominican competition.

The trip back to the hotel contained its own excitement.  One of the mini-buses blew out a tire.  There wasn't a jack to change the tire, so the team had to lift the bus off the ground while a spare was placed on the mini-bus.  The hotel dining area was scheduled to close at 10 p.m., but they held it open an extra thirty minutes so the team could eat dinner upon the late return.

The team is scheduled to depart the hotel for the airport at 3:45 a.m. and will arrive back in Nashville mid-afternoon Tuesday.

Lipscomb 92, La UASD 83
Scoring: Malcolm Smtih 20, Jordan Burgason 15, Robert Boyd 12, Damarius Smith 9, Zavion Williams 8, Deonte Alexander 7, Jacob Arnett 7, Marvin Williams 6, Cater Sanderson 5 and Martin Smith 3.
Lipscomb   27  20  28  17 - 92
La UASD     16  24  26  17 - 83