JPCC Basketball League boasts 8 teams this year

The 2007 Winter Season of the Jamaica Plain Community Centers (JPCC) Basketball League is underway at Curtis Hall across from the Monument. The league is bigger and better than ever this time around, with eight teams split up into two age divisions. The senior division is for ages 13 and under, and the Junior Division for ages 10 and under.

Volunteer coaches are the heart and soul of the league, which plays on Saturdays at Curtis Hall with teams practicing during the week at both Curtis Hall and the Agassiz Community Center.

The junior division features the Celtics, Heat, Timberwolves and Spurs. The Celtics are coached by Jamaica Plain Streetworker José Masso and Kevin Murray. The family ties are thick on this team, which includes Masso’s cousins Joey Campos-Quinones and Isaac Rodgers and Murray’s son Kiernan Murray.

The Heat are coached by Dan Pray and Javier Tello. Luis Hathaway, D’Mani Sapp and the rest of the team have helped the Heat into a first-place tie with the Celtics midway through the season.

The Timberwolves are led by point guard Justin Andino and his father, coach Martin Andino, also a Boston City Streetworker.

Brother Khalfani Singhour, a teacher at Young Achievers middle school, brought his basketball expertise to a series of skill clinics leading up to the season. Khalfani also coaches the Spurs, which feature siblings Chris, Carissa and Kevin Stots.

When the Junior Division games end and it’s time for the Senior Division games, the old gymnasium at Curtis Hall is filled with drama. The Nuggets, led by coaches Rasheem Cope and Carl Knight, are in first place as of a win over Coach Greg Rubio’s Bulls. The Nuggets’ Bill Morgan went shot for shot with Cerone “Pee Wee” Davis of the Bulls in a classic duel.

Suns Coach Derek Smith, who has been with the league since its foundation, has been coaching cousins Wander Pimentel and Nelson Gonzalez since the league’s first game over a year ago.

The Pistons, coached by Pastor Ivan Cutts, Ivan Cutts Jr. and Mike Day, have had some tough losses in close games. The Pistons coaching staff, however, will be the first to point out that the lessons learned about life through the league should be more important than the final score. If the Pistons coaches are successful in their mission, the league will have served its true purpose.

The JPCC Basketball League is free to all who participate. The league is seeking donations to go toward trophies and an awards ceremony for the kids. JPCC is also looking for donations to fund its baseball program (which is also free of charge for kids) and is seeking volunteers to coach a girls’ softball team for ages 9-12. For more information, please call 635-5193.

Submitted by the JPCC Basketball League.

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