Wareham Junior Basketball Association has coaches, kids coming back year after year
Visit the Wareham Middle School and the sound of swishing nets and squeaking sneakers fills the gymnasium. On the court, teams of kids dribble back and forth, honing their skills in the long-running Wareham Junior Basketball Association.
With its focus on skill development, fair play and friendly competition, the league has kept coaches, players and parents coming back for more than three decades.
“It’s basically like family,” said Racquel Cardoza, a head coach. “It’s very community involved. You play as a kid, have kids yourself, and then come back and coach.”
She joined the league 30 years ago when she started playing as a 5-year-old. In high school, she volunteered as a coach to fulfill a community service requirement. Today, Cardoza is the league’s Mighty Mites coordinator, which caters to players in kindergarten through second grade.
In total, there are roughly 200 players learning and playing on 10 different teams.
One of those teams, the Wolf Pack, is coached by TJ Rose, who is now in his third year with the league. The goal, he said, is to teach basketball basics to the younger players. As they get older, the competition increases. For some, the league is a stepping stone to high school basketball.
“You can see future athletes start to develop their skills here and a lot of them end up finding themselves on the court,” said Rose. “You see kids out there giving it their all.”
Two of Rose’s players, his son Jonathan, age 11, and Will Hesse, age 10, both plan on playing in high school. Jonathan has been in the league for three years and Will for two years.
“That’s what we want to do,” said Will. “Get better and play in high school. Practices are the best.”
One of the league’s requirements is ensuring every player has five minutes of game time, allowing all players a chance to hone their skills. The Wareham Junior Basketball Association’s season is ongoing now and ends in March with playoffs and a finals game.
Games start Saturdays in the Wareham Middle School gymnasium at 8:30 a.m. and end at approximately 5:30 p.m.