Charlestown Youth Basketball Continues to Expand as New Season Kicks Off

The Charlestown Youth Basketball (CYB) league kicked off its season last week, with the numbers up by more than 100 kids and a new division added for 6-year-olds.

Oliver Belge focuses on the basket as he shoots a layup during a game between the Celtics and Raptors in opening week play last Thursday, Jan.9, of the Charlestown Youth Basketball league. The league is expanding this year, with many more kids participating than last year.

CYB is a program that is more than a decade old, but the program has been invigorated lately with new leader Max Gomez and new wrinkles added to attract more players of all levels.

“There’s quite a bit of players this year,” said Gomez. “You can see that the gym is full on game nights. We’re probably up 100 kids, going from around 150 last year to 250 this year. It’s a combination of the fact that there are more people with kids staying in Charlestown. Five years ago people moved out and now they stay. The other part is that even though CYB has been around 10 or 12 years, having more kids available we see chances to make it more accessible.”

That included adding low rim basketball to the instructional league and the junior varsity (ages 7-9) league last year, and also adding a new 6-year-old instructional division that use low rims this year. The Varsity boys and girls teams use the high rims, and all together he said they have 23 teams and about 40 kids in the co-ed instructional league. The league typically has one practice and one game per week. There are referees at the games, and they tailor their officiating to the player level.

The new 6-year-old division has three clinics per week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“It’s been fun to implement the changes, and there are just a ton of people in the gym now, which is what we want,” he said.

The league finishes up in March, and they have a playoff championship, and an all-star game. Adding a player banquet last year was also a welcome change, Gomez said.

Games and practices are held at the Community Center, the Harvard Kent gym, the Edwards School gym, and this year, at the Boys & Girls Club gym.

The league is now in full swing, and the weekly schedule can be found on the league’s website, charlestownyouthbasketball.com.

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