Five years after joining a co-ed kids basketball league, and seeing it bloom into a thriving girls-only league, members and parents of Curtis Hall’s Girls’ Basketball Division are now angling to expand.
The girls league, for ages 8 to 12, split off from the co-ed kids league about two years ago when “the girls were going to age out of wanting to play with boys on the same team,” Susan Elsbree, mother to 12-year-old league member Lizzie and Abby, told the Gazette.
Susan Elsbree said that often, once kids reach a certain age, the boys stop wanting to pass to the girls because they’re not as good as the boys. That can lead the girls’ to not improve as players and to resent playing with the boys.
“Younger ages is fine for coed, but a 14-year-old boy playing with an 11-year-old girl? It’s too much of a difference,” she said.
That beginning still shows during gameplay. During a Gazette visit at a Saturday game, the girls who were taller and better players could be seen to be “mentoring” younger, smaller players, passing them the ball and encouraging them after good moves.
“My friend was really little last year and now she’s a really good player,” Lizzie Elsbree told the Gazette just before her game started on March 14. “It’s really nice to watch her grow.”
Abby Elsbree echoed the sentiment of enjoying growing up wit her teammates.
The league began with only four girls. Now it has six teams comprising about 60 girls, and the original players are getting too old to stay in the league. Elsbree, Carrie Fletcher and other parents and coaches are working toward expanding the league into middle-school ages.
“We are working on a travel team for next year, too,” Elsbree said.
They’re looking to keep it based out of Curtis Hall.
“The kids, most of whom don’t go to the same schools, and many of whom live in Roxbury and other adjacent neighborhoods, have all grown up together on the court,” Elsbree said. “All of the coaches are volunteers and it is some of the most ferocious competition—in a good way—that I have seen.”
The regular season ended March 21 and Girls Basketball Division playoffs are through April 11. Games are Saturday mornings at Curtis Hall, 20 South St.