Basketball For Youth Makes A Comeback

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The good news in Town Parks and Recreation offices is that the fifth- and sixth-grade basketball league, which was a few weeks ago in danger of sputtering to a stall, is now purring like a fine-tuned V-8.

“Everything is going great,” town youth sports coordinator Joseph Harris said.

The boys’ league has attracted seven teams — the most in the history of the program — and the girls will play in a three-team league.

Before the Dec. 22 deadline, player numbers were down and Harris was worried the P&R department wouldn’t have enough youngsters for either league.

Now that youth basketball is up and running, practices will be held in the Julia Randall Elementary School gymnasium on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and games played Saturdays in the Rim Country Middle School gym.

Payson paid a $25 fee to participate and will receive what Harris calls “some of the coolest gear” in the form of a reversible NBA jersey.

FAN club to meet

Among the first orders of business for the new Friends And Neighbors (FAN) executive board was to extend an open invitation to local parents, coaches and business persons to attend the next meeting to be held 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 6 at Pioneer Title.

At that meeting, meeting dates for general membership will be decided upon.

The new officers, sworn in at the December meeting of the old board, include president Donovan Thornhill, vice president Debbie Brown, secretary Shelley Randall and treasurer Wanda Randall.

Since the inception of the club in 2005, it has raised more than $250,000 to benefit extra-curricular programs throughout the school district.

Both PUSD superintendent Casey O’Brien and principal Roy Sandoval praise the FAN club as one that is essential to the district, raising funds and supporting extra-curricular activities.

With the district facing a budget crisis, officials are predicting even more financial help might be needed from the club in order to avoid assessing stiffer participation fees on students and their parents.

Horns at Bradshaw

The Longhorn boys’ basketball team is currently in Prescott Valley competing in the Bradshaw Mountain Invitational. Over the course of the next three days, the team will play five games and could be without the services of 6-foot, 5-inch Dakota Marshall, who injured his ankle last week in a loss to Fountain Hills.

Fast-pitch clinics on deck

Payson Little League has scheduled fast-pitch pitching clinics for Dec. 30 and Jan. 9 on the Kiwanis fields at Rumsey Park. The session for beginners will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and skills sessions for advanced are 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The fee is $5 per session.

Little League official Felicia Moore calls the clinics “an opportunity for girls to learn (fast pitch).”

Also for aspiring players, a hitting clinic is set for Dec. 30.

For the clinic, sessions for those 10 years and under will be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The 11-year-olds and up will meet 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The clinics will be conducted by former Lady Longhorn softball coach Curtis Johnson and his daughter, Candice, who once was an all-region pitcher for PHS.

Tryouts will be conducted Feb. 20. At the clinics, players will also have the opportunity to sign up for 2010 Little League play.

The registration fee for minor, major and junior league play is $75 until Feb. 1; after Feb. 1 the fee is $80. The fee for the coach pitch league is $50.

Families with more than two children participating will not have to pay for more than two players.

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