Teen Hoop Enthusiasm Lagging


The town of Payson-sponsored seventh- and eighth-grade basketball league is floundering, possibly due to a lack of interest.

"I'm having a hard time getting kids in here to register," recreation specialist Charlene Hunt said. "We know the school is in fall break, but we sent home notices with (students) before the break began."


Oct. 12 is the deadline for seventh- and eighth-graders to sign up for the town's youth basketball league.

Hunt said she also realizes that seventh and eighth grades are the years young athletes focus on making the Rim Country Middle School teams, and they might be downplaying recreation basketball.

"But, there's no conflict in participating in both school and recreation programs," she said.

In fact, playing in the recreation league can increase a player's chances of making the RCMS team when tryouts are held in mid-December.

"Our league will be over before (RCMS) tryouts, and all the players will be more conditioned and experienced for school basketball," Hunt said. "Recreation basketball is a great way to get ready for the school teams."

League play begins Nov. 14 and this year will feature, for the first time, evening games on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Tonto Apache gymnasium.

"In the past, all games were played on Saturdays," Hunt said. "We had numerous complaints from parents about (games) tying up all the Saturdays."

In an effort to answer those complaints, the town asked permission from the Tonto Apache Tribe to use its gym during weekday evenings.

The tribe agreed, and Monday and Wednesday games will be played at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. through early December.

The only Saturday games scheduled for this season will be played Nov. 19.

Last year, the league fielded six coed teams because there were not enough girls registered to have a separate league.

"If we can get 24 girls signed up, they can have their own league," Hunt said.

Teens interested in participating in the town program have only until Oct. 12 to sign up at the parks office at Green Valley Park. The fee is $20 per player.

For more information, call (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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