LYNN — The city of Lynn has a number of local sports programs for young athletes throughout the course of the year, but year-in and year-out, there’s nothing quite like the Lynn Parks and Recreation Summer Basketball League. Part competitive league, part recreational fun and part distraction from the trappings of daily city life for a young person in the summertime.
“I think it’s the best thing Lynn does every summer,” said Ward 6 Councilor Fred Hogan, who has been one of the organizers of the league for nearly 25 years. “Just watching the kids play every week is great, and then seeing them come back year after year and really get attached to the tournament is something special.”
The league, which is run in part by the Lynn Parks and Recreation Department, runs games four days a week, alternating between East Lynn and West Lynn teams. Every tournament day sees six games played across three divisions, with two each in elementary school, middle school and high school. This year, over 300 kids signed up to play in the league.
“The turnout has been just incredible,” said Hogan. “People have been spreading the word over the past few years especially, and the tournament has really grown.”
Of course, having so many players in the league makes things like changing venues at the last minute a bit of a challenge. That’s already happened twice this year, once when the Lynn English basketball courts were being repainted and again when rain threatened to cancel the event. The games were moved to Kiley Park and Marshall Middle School when necessary, and everything went on as scheduled. And, because of the prevalence of social media, getting kids directed to the right park wasn’t too much of an issue.
“It was a little hectic at first, but with social media it actually wasn’t too hard getting the word out,” Hogan said.
The tournament is winding down, as this is the last week of regular season play before the playoffs begin on Monday. The championship games in each division will be played on Thursday at a site to be determined. While the championship games are always played at Marian Gardens, the installation of a new mural in the park this week may force the games to be moved to the Lynn Tech gym.
And as always, Hogan points to the administrators of the tournament — Jeff Byrd, Lisa Nerich and Hogan’s daughter Geanni Ferreira — and all the players, parents and volunteers who make each week possible.
“This tournament means a lot to the city, and people show it when they come to help out,” Hogan said. “The community involvement on all levels is really special, and it’s why we’re able to do this year after year.”
The Lynn Summer Basketball League rolled on Wednesday afternoon, with five games played across the three divisions.
In the first elementary school division game, Irvine & Sons, Inc. earned a 27-20 win over Councilor Rick Starbard. Christian Diaz led Irvine & Sons, Inc. with 10 points, while Josiah Peralta had eight points to lead Councilor Rick Starbard.
The second elementary school game saw Pizza Lovers take down Lynn Firefighters Local 739 by a score of 31-15. Ethan Gicheru had 20 points to lead the way for Pizza Lovers, while Charaz Moran led Lynn Firefighters Local 739 with six points.
In the middle school division, Columbia Insurance earned a 46-39 win over Councilor Buzzy Barton. Preston Kellman had 15 points to lead the way for Columbia Insurance, while Omari Merryman led Councilor Buzzy Barton with 16 points.
In the first high school game of the day, Neil A. Price Company, LLP took down Lahey Landscaping 42-37. Lou Rivera led Neil A. Price Company, LLP with 14 points, while Gianni Martinez and Rollie Castineyra each had 12 points to lead the way for Lahey Landscaping.
In the final high school game, Solimine Funeral Home earned a 70-62 win over John’s Fuel Services. Nelson Obugabu led Solimine Funeral Home with 10 points.
The Lynn Summer Basketball League will continue on Thursday before the playoffs begin next week.