Youth rec league heats up for summertime

A player for Team Lakers dribbles the ball upcourt and attempts to look for a teammate to pass the ball to.

Youth rec league heats up for summertime
July 28
06:15 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The Carl H. Russell Community Center has kicked off its summer basketball league. The goal is to complement the skills-and-drills camp which runs simultaneously with the basketball league.

The campers are split up into age groups and the younger kids play on Tuesdays.

The older kids play on Thursdays. The campers are put onto four different teams on each level and play a round robin style tournament with a championship later on in the summer.  This league is another avenue to keep the kids occupied for the entire summer while enhancing their skills on the court.

“We are just out here wanting to give the kids some fundamentals so they can have a good time playing basketball,” said Ben Piggott, director of Carl H. Russell Community Center.  “We want the kids to come to the center and have fun, but we also want to put an educational twist on it by bringing in speakers every week.  It’s a great league because every kid gets a chance to play.”

The games are very competitive but the campers show a high level of sportsmanship toward one another.  Game one on Thursday afternoon had the makings of an old-fashioned blow out.  Team Spurs took the lead early and maintained control through most of the first and second half.

During the final minutes of the game, Team Lakers implemented a full court press turning Team Spurs over multiple times and sending them to the line to shoot free throws. Team Spurs was unable to convert crucial free throws and took some bad shots. Team Lakers had the ball on the final possession and with just seconds to go on the clock, Kelvin Jones drove to the basket and converted a layup and was fouled with no time left. He stepped to the line and knocked down the free throw, propelling his team to the victory by one.

“I come up here every day and everyone here is like family,” Jones said. “Well, that’s how it is when you are playing ball.  You have to get the ball to the right person in the right situation.”  Jones is a recent Carver High School grad and says he loves playing in the summer league.

Game two of the day looked to be a mismatch as the Bulls played the Cavaliers.  Team Bulls were rather shorthanded playing with only seven players. With timely shots from Quinton Campbell and steady the Bulls kept a comfortable lead through-out. Team Cavaliers were not able to get into a rhythm shooting.  They missed shots from all over the court and could not close the gap during the game.

“I love basketball and even though I am a little upset we lost, I still enjoy coming here,” said Cruz Rivaz.

Many of the coaches for the summer league teams have come up through the program when they were younger.  Bebe Lindsay, Justen Stafford Sr. and Fareed Rahmaan all played when they were younger.  They now coach as a way to give back to the young men, community and the rec center.

The camp will last until the return of the school year. Mr. Piggott wants all of the children to be respectful and learn to give back.  He stated that Jerry Thornton donated all of the jerseys for the camp.  He also stated that his staff is giving their all in order to ensure the campers are having a great experience. Without people like Ron Couthen, Keith Perry and Brian Leak, Piggott noted, he wouldn’t be able to put on the league.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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