By GARY BROWN
NORTH PORT — The North Port Youth Basketball Inc. (NPYB) organization offers youths a chance to play the sport in both the winter and summer.
The summer season is now in session at the Morgan Family Community Center and games are held every Saturday. There are games in the 5-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-17 age divisions. The teams are named after their coaches’ last names.
Saturday, youths battled up and down the court before their fans and families. The summer league doesn’t have post-season playoffs like the winter season does, but the kids stll enjoy the games and play with intensity.
“We have about 240 kids signed up for the summer season,” said NPYB president Andrew Baker. “The most we’ve had has been 260 players for one season. The purpose of the summer season is to give the kids something to do and also improve their skills.”
While Baker was talking, Gonzalez was playing Davidson in a 10-11 game. Gonzalez led virtually from start to finish to raise its record to 2-1. Miguel Gonzalez, the coach’s son, scored 18 points from his point guard position and did a good job running the offense. Bryan Bazan added
11 points for the winners.
“We did a pretty good job,” said coach Jose Gonzalez. “In the one game we lost, I was missing several players.”
Gonzalez’s players also compete in the winter league ard are also members of a travel team.
“They play from August to June for the travel team,” the coach said. “It helps them a lot.”
Following the 10-11 game, Van Salisbury and Killian played in a 12-13 division contest. Van Salisbury won its first game of the season (against two losses) with an impressive 46-20 victory. Wesley Bigelow led the winners with 18 points. Van Salisbury jumped to a 35-10 halftime lead and cruised in from there for the victory.
“The key for us was playing together as a team,” coach George Van Salisbury said. “That’s a big key. “This (the youth basketball) teaches kids to be humble, win and play together as a team.”
Van Salisbury also has three players who compete for middle school basketball teams in North Port. Other players in the league also compete on middle school teams so they stay busy with basketball much of the year.
The NPYB also offers a basketball clinic from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Monday evening in the Morgan Family Community Center. The summer season will end July 27.