SHORT GAP – On Sunday, the Cumberland Terps defeated the Cumberland Lil’ Saints and, with that victory, won the Frankfurt Youth Basketball League championship. Just before that game, the fifth-year Frankfurt team defeated Health Matters to win the third-place prize. In doing so, the four teams wrapped up another successful season for the Frankfurt Youth Basketball League.
This year, the captain of the popular league ship was Eric Hyett, a parent who had just really discovered the league just before taking the reins.
“The funny thing is, I didn’t know anything about the league for fifth and fourth years. I was looking for my son in the Romney area, Cumberland area, for a place to play basketball. Then, during one of our football practices, one of the coaches asked me if I would like to lead a fifth and fourth year league.
“What league?” Hyett asked.
According to Hyett, “One of the main reasons I didn’t know was that my son’s fourth year they didn’t have him because of COVID. Then the conversation started and I started getting more information.
There were a few challenges getting things started again, but in the end the league came back and had an entertaining and valuable season for everyone involved.
“One of the challenges was that the league was down, we had to find coaches. We have teams coming from all over the region. So it was a problem for me to contact the former coaches and of course most of the “Between them were gone. But, they gave me names. So it took about two weeks of calling, texting, finding out if that area would have a team,” Hyett explained.
The nine participating teams this year were: Bishop Walsh, Cumberland Lil’ Saints, Cumberland Terps, Frankfort Fifth, Frankfort Fourth, George’s Creek, Health Matters, Keyser Hurricanes and The Warriors.
The Frankfurt Youth Basketball League is someone unique and different compared to other existing options for the same age group.
“I know there are church leagues in the area for this age group. I understand that we are the most competitive of the leagues. Although we only have high school kids officiating, games are officiated as if it were a high school game,” Hyett detailed.
According to Hyett, “All calls are called, where in some church leagues they will let this or that go. Therefore, it’s a more competitive league, which is what a lot of people want with their kids going into college.
So what exactly is the age group?
“It’s mainly a league for fifth and fourth graders, but if your team doesn’t have enough kids, we allow third graders. Some regions, like Frankfurt, have a fifth grader team and a fourth-year team. Keyser, for many years, had both a fifth-year and a fourth-year team. This year, they only have a fourth-year team. So instead of 10 teams, we We had nine teams this year. Someone had a day off every week,” Hyett said.
One good thing about the Frankfurt Youth Basketball League is the consistency of location and time.
According to Hyett, “As long as I know, and this league has been around for about 15 years, all the games have always been here at Frankfort High School. The coaches believe that the consistency is excellent because everyone knows where they are going. The hours of play may vary each week, but not the day and location.
Of course, it takes the cooperation of the host school to pull off a league like this. A strong spirit of cooperation exists between the host high school in Frankfurt and the league organizers and participants.
“The manager, Orie Pancione, has been phenomenal helping me get the gym set up, getting the things we need. For the Frankfurt teams, we do our college workouts, and they too have been great. We are usually the last ones here on weekends in Frankfurt, so we make sure to leave it as beautiful as we found it,” Hyett detailed.
Each week, the Frankfurt Booster Club provided a well-stocked concession stand, this season consisting of the boys and girls tennis teams, parents and coaches, where children and adults could be properly refreshed and fed each Sunday.
On Championship Sunday, the four highest-ranked teams from the regular season faced off in a bracket tournament for first, second and third place. There were trophies for the coaches of the winning team and medallions for the players. Each player in the league also received a hooded warm-up jersey.
According to Hyett, “I wanted from the beginning the best possible experience for children and parents.”