Summer basketball league is thriving

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 19, 2009

NATCHEZ — There is something new going on at Margaret Martin Gymnasium this summer.

For the first time ever, a summer youth basketball league that caters to older teenagers has come to be.

The league, which is run by the Boys and Girls Club of the Miss-Lou, began May 5 and runs through July 31, almost the entire length of the teen’s summer break from school.

Email newsletter signup

“We are trying to do something to get that age group off the streets,” league director Robert Jones said. “It gives them something to do during the summer months.”

Jones said most youth programs are catered toward younger people, but the Boys and Girls Club wanted to provide an activity for older teenagers.

“(Boys and Girls Club Director) Fay Minor and myself talked about trying to find something for the kids to do in the summer,” Jones said. “Most summer recreation things are not for older kids. They don’t have anything to do inside. We sat down and thought about it and decided ‘Why don’t we play basketball during the summer months?’ It’s been very successful.”

The league plays on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with three games beginning at 6 p.m.

Jones said there were seven teams in the league with roughly 10 players per team.

“We’ve got teams from Woodville, Ferriday, and all over,” Jones said. “We’re trying to expand it out for next year, make it even better.”

The league is also planned as a major fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club’s summer programs, Minor said.

“We want to be able to stay open during the summer months, but our club is suffering financially as much as the other clubs in Mississippi are,” Minor said. “We hear about others in the state, but here at home, we’re having the same problems too.”

Jones said it is the club’s goal to have between 12 and 15 teams participate in the league next summer.

“We’re just reaching out to all areas around us,” Jones said. “I want to have them join us next year and have an even better league.”