Youth Sports: It’s basketball season again at JP Community Centers

Gazette Photo By John Swan Kiernan Murray, 10, gets a shot off as defenders Malcolm Clemons (bottom) and Aiden Sherman-Collins close in during a JP Community Centers Basketball League game at Curtis Hall Dec. 1.

The Jamaica Plain Community Centers (JPCC) Basketball League at Curtis Hall is back for another season! The League, which plays games on Saturdays at Curtis Hall across from the Monument, and practices throughout the week at both Curtis Hall and the Agassiz School, is under way for its third year. The League was founded under the principle that no child should be excluded for financial reasons. It has grown to twice the size of its inaugural season but remains free of charge to all who participate.

This league features eight teams in all. There are two divisions; the Junior Division (ages 8-10), and the Senior Division (ages 11-13).

Junior Division

The Sonics are coached by the athletic staff from Curtis Hall, who are leading a young and inexperienced squad through the process of learning the game. Paul Brown, who can often be seen diving for a loose ball or battling for a rebound with a kid a foot taller than he is, exemplifies the way the Sonics play the game.

Boston streetworker José Masso’s Celtics, with more returning players than any team, are confident about their chances to bounce back from last year’s upset playoff loss to the Heat. Troy “Larry Bird” Fredericks and his sister Nell are among the Celtics’ stars.

The Heat, meanwhile, look to defend their Junior Division Championship under the guidance of coaches Dan Pray and Javier Tello and the play of Javier’s son Maximo.

Coach Khalfani Khalfour, who ran a series of basketball skill clinics leading up to the season, also coaches the Spurs, the final Junior Division team.

Senior Division

In the Senior Division, the Bulls look to defend their title under a new coach, Eric Grant. Dashawn “DeDe” Davis looks to carry the torch for his brother, Cerone “PeeWee” Davis, who led the Bulls in his final season last year.

Coach Carl Knight’s Nuggets were on the losing end of the championship game with the Bulls last year, but are off to an undefeated start so far this season. Cousins Rashad and Dion Knight lead the Nuggets’ backcourt for a team which also features the post play of Tyrone Brimage and Ray Lara.

Pastor Ivan Cutts and Ivan Cutts Jr. coach the Pistons, who run their “X” play to perfection every week, with point guard Thomas Soares often finding Heyden Acosta wide open for his signature three-point shot.

Derek Smith, coach of the Suns, is still with the league since its inaugural season. He and assistant coach Connie Taylor insist that team members show up to practice or sit on the bench during games.

The JPCC Basketball League stresses the importance of teamwork and good sportsmanship. The league is looking for support to provide trophies and an award ceremony at the end of the season. To support this program, please call Jamaica Plain Community Centers at 635-5195.

Submitted by the JPCC basketball program.

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