London Recreation youth hoops numbers way up

 Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil Jayda Cunningham, a participant in the city of London’s recreational basketball league, passes the ball during figure-8 drills at a Dec. 23 practice at the London Community Center. Looking on is Parks and Recreation Director Ben McCoy.
Messenger photo by Jeff Pfeil
Jayda Cunningham, a participant in the city of London’s recreational basketball league, passes the ball during figure-8 drills at a Dec. 23 practice at the London Community Center. Looking on is Parks and Recreation Director Ben McCoy.

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Participation in the city of London’s youth basketball leagues is up by 50 percent over last year. A total of 275 youngsters are playing hoops this winter compared to roughly 180 last winter.

Parks and Recreation Director Ben McCoy attributes the increase, in part, to momentum from last year’s successful season and new forms of outreach. In addition to sending home flyers with school children, the department rolled out a new website, www.londonparksandrec.org.

Through the website, parents can register their children for activities and pay entry fees. The convenience of the online payment option has been a big hit.

“We’ve made almost as much revenue online as we did all season last year,” McCoy said.

The basketball program is open to children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Kindergarteners and first-graders play on co-ed teams. The older children play on separate boys and girls teams. With the increase in participation, the London Community Center is a very busy place.

“We’ve been scheduling 42 practices a week. There are 31 teams total,” McCoy said.

The recreational teams practice and compete at the Community Center. Games are on Saturdays from early January through Feb. 8, followed by tournaments.

New this year, the city combined forces with London Hoops to offer one travel basketball program in London instead of two. Darren Long, basketball coach for London City Schools, heads up London Hoops. The new combined program serves 61 young athletes. Games are played on Saturdays and Sundays. Home games take place at London Elementary.

With the basketball programs in full swing, next up is youth volleyball. The indoor league is open to girls in second through sixth grade. Registration opens Jan. 12 and runs through March 10. Teams will compete on Saturdays and Sundays through April 25 at the Community Center. The fee to participate is $60 per person.

The city also offers an adult co-ed volleyball league. Registration closes Jan. 5. Matches will be played on Sundays through March 8. Sign-up fees are $160 per six-person team. Individuals can sign up for $25.

For details about youth or adult programs offered by London Parks and Recreation, go to londonparksandrec.org or contact Ben McCoy at (740) 837-0184 or benmccoy@ci.london.oh.us.

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