More than 60 area boys and girls are participating in the sixth annual Marietta Youth Basketball League held at Buckeye Park each Tuesday and Thursday night throughout the month of July.
The league consists of eight co-ed teams made up of kids from not only here in town but also from neighboring areas such as Caldwell, Barlow-Vincent, and McConnelsville.
The teams are broken into two divisions, grades five, six, and seven and grades eight, nine, ten and 11 and for an entry fee of just 40.00 per child, the kids get to play eight officiated games on the renovated court that now includes lighting as well as a scoreboard.
MIKE?MORRISON The Marietta Times
Players in the Marietta Youth Basketball League compete during a game at Buckeye Park Thursday evening.
Help from sponsors such as the Marietta Elks Club and the Marietta Civitan Club were instrumental in paying for the scoreboard and Marietta City Recreation Director Susie Joyce feels the kids have enjoyed the upgrades over the past few years.
"We seem to have about 60-to-65 kids out every single year," said Joyce, who is assisted in running the league by Gary Turner. "The kids especially like getting to play under the lights."
Each team is named after legendary college basketball programs including Wichita State, Virginia, Depaul, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Marshall.
Thursday evening the officials on hand were a pair of former local high school basketball players in Marietta High School graduate Adam McKnight, as well as former Warren standout and future West Liberty forward Evan French.
"Having them here tonight is really great for the kids," said Turner. "The kids really look up to them."
While the league is designed for fun, many of the kids view the league as another opportunity to sharpen up on their basketball skills for the upcoming season.
Seventh grader Tilly Wright plays on the Wichita State team coached by her mother Kari Wright.
"I think playing in this league will be very helpful," said Tilly Wright who will play in middle school this winter. "It definitely makes you become more aggressive."
Area basketball fans are more than welcome to come and watch the games with four games scheduled each week until the end of July.