KWAKWANI and Mackenzie High will defend their respective title during the twelfth edition of the National Schools Basketball Festival (NSBF), which was launched yesterday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH).At the Under-14 and Under-16 levels, the defending champions are Mackenzie High while Kwakwani have the Under-19 and Females division. Both teams will be hard-pressed to retain their titles.This year’s tournament is expected to feature more than 50 schools and begins on March 31 with four teams. They are New Amsterdam, Corentyne, Region #10 and Georgetown Combined.Following the conclusion of the conference round, the national championship will start in July.During yesterday’s launch, YBG director Chris Bowman contended, “We started with one sponsor and because of Digicel, Banks DIH and Beharry Group of Companies we have grown into the tournament you see today, that spans several districts and touches over 600 students.”The first two will not be a part of this year’s tournament. However; Beharry remains, signalling its intention for the ninth time on Monday with Brand Manager Trainin Monique Tewari stating that they are happy to stick around with the tournamentGuyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) vice-president Kendrick Thomas, in his address said, “We at the federation, GABF, endorse this festival,” adding, “we see it something that people could use as a stepping stone.”Meanwhile, the Department of Physical Education, through its head Nicholas Fraser, gave its blessing. Fraser said, “We believe that this is in keeping with our vision for sport in schools.