SOUTHWEST HARBOR — While advertising executives, professional ballplayers and their handlers squabble over the NBA lockout, islanders are turning their attention to area school-age athletes suiting up for the court.
First to draw a crowd are the junior high and elementary basketball teams. Elementary school teams will sport uniforms for the first time at Pemetic School on Tuesday and Wednesday, in a round robin tournament starting at 3:45 p.m.
“We’ve put on this round robin for a long long time,” said Steve Snurkowski, athletic director at Pemetic School. “All the (Regional School System AOS 91 schools) participate. Mount Desert, Tremont Consolidated School, Conners-Emerson, Pemetic, and Trenton. It’s a lot of fun.”
Entry to the event is $1 for kids and $2 for adults as a mini fund-raiser for the Pemetic sports boosters.
“It’s really set up to get the kinks out for the basketball teams,” Snurkowski said.
The round robin is designed as match-ups of only 10 minutes of playing time. It’s an opportunity for coaches and players to view the competition.
“The coaches like it. The referees like it. It’s all the parts of a regular game, only in a 10-minute stint,” he said. “It’s also the first time everybody has to wear a uniform. So somebody forgets their shorts and it’s a chance for coaches to say, ‘See, you need to be prepared.’ Overall, it’s just fun for the kids to get out on the floor.”
Tuesday night will showcase all area girls’ teams, Wednesday all area boys’ teams. The first game, between Pemetic and Tremont, will start at 3:34 p.m. Teams will continue play until the final game, between Pemetic and Emerson, which likely will being at about 5:30 p.m.
Non-school league competitive ball is available to the younger grades, also through the MDI Y and Harbor House in Southwest Harbor. Some seventh and eighth-graders throughout the island already have begun playing non-school league basketball with the Acadian Basketball Association (ABA).
The ABA hosts nearly 50 seventh and eighth-graders per basketball team and travels around the state to play. The league is divided into four teams, two girls’ and two boys’ in an A team and a B team. The teams are composed of athletes from all island schools, and are an opportunity for players from opposing elementary school teams to join forces.
The ABA will play from now until the end of January, only on weekends, until the first half of basketball season culminates in a tournament. The association is currently seeking donations to help outfit its teams with uniforms and basketballs and to provide assistance with gymnasium fees, tournament costs, and the price associated with referees at league games. Contact Tony McKim to donate, at [email protected], or 288-2469.
The Mount Desert Island High School teams will begin tryouts this week for varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen girls’ and boys’ teams.
Justin Norwood will return for a fifth season to coach the varsity boys. Matt Umphrey will coach the MDI boys’ JV team, and Tony McKim was selected to coach the freshmen boys.
Brent Barker will return as head coach of the girls’ varsity. Greg Linscott will be the JV head coach, and Laura Archer will coach the freshmen girls.
The first games of the season are scheduled to be played by both the girls and boys varsity in a round-up between MDI and Narraguagus and MDI versus Bucksport on Saturday.