Wareham Junior Basketball Association teaches skill, confidence
Wareham’s Junior Basketball Association started its season on Dec. 22, welcoming players both new and old to the court.
The local league has been a staple at Wareham Middle School for more than three decades now, promoting a strong focus on skill development and fair play.
The league is open to both boys and girls and accepts players from grades three through eight. For younger athletes, the Junior Basketball Association’s Mighty Mites League accepts children in grades one and two.
“Every kid makes a team and every kid gets a chance to play,” said Association President Joe Hathaway. “Our goal is to teach confidence as well as the basics.”
Hathaway said he first joined the league as a coach 20 years ago when his daughter expressed interested in the sport.
“This actually is the first year in which I don’t have a relative on the court,” he said. “But we have a really strong community atmosphere, so in a way, it still feels like family.”
Hathaway added that he still coaches for the league, juggling his duties as president with games and practices.
“If it makes a difference for just one kid, then I think it’s well worth the time,” Hathaway said.
As they get older, Hathaway said the competition for players increases. For some, he added, the league can even serve as a stepping stone to high school basketball.
Last year, roughly 200 players joined the league, and many of them returned to play this season.
Ten-year-old Olivia Mello began playing basketball in Wareham in the second grade, following in her father’s footsteps.
“I wanted to see if I could do it, too,” Mello said. “There’s a lot I like about basketball, and I really like playing against different teams each week.”
Eleven-year-old Mesaydes Perry and 9-year-old Gianna Hernadez, who squared off against Mello’s team on Saturday, echoed her sentiment.
“It’s a lot of fun to play against different people,” Hernadez said. “My favorite thing is passing the ball to my friends so we can try to win.”
“I like learning new stuff, too,” said Perry.
The league runs from now until early March with games in the middle school gymnasium every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
To learn more about the league and how to volunteer, visit the Wareham Junior Basketball Association’s Facebook page.