TENNERTON – The Upshur County Summer Basketball League will begin its 2022 season on Monday with a trio of games.
The league will once again play its games at the Upshur County Recreational Park’s outdoor basketball court behind the Buckhannon-Upshur High School football and softball fields.
“This season is exciting because we are planning to have vendors set up while we’re having games so that spectators can grab a snack or drink while they watch,” said league director Mitchell Shaw. “Sweet A Licious will be bringing their ice cream truck up some, as well as the new Traveling Dawgz hot dog cart and we’re working on getting a few others.”
The league continues to grow under Shaw’s watch as they will have 14 teams and over 140 players this summer.
“I think the league is growing because there’s a lot more effort being put into planning it,” stated Shaw. “Since our board took it over, we’ve morphed it into a fundraiser so planning is much more important. So because we’re working several months in advance preparing for it, we’re able to get word of mouth out to more people.”
Shaw said the local tradition of basketball and the popularity of the game locally has helped the league continue to grow as well.
“There’s a long-running tradition of a summer basketball league here in Buckhannon and I truly feel that basketball is extremely popular in our region,” noted Shaw. “There’s great demand for competitive basketball and I believe that’s what makes people want to come play here. Our board has done a great job of reaching out to teams and players who have been coming to play here for a long time and keeping them returning.”
The league will feature two seven-team divisions this season.
Making up Division I will be High Point Construction, KBAM Builders, Pre Played Media, Sam’s Pizza, Strategy IT and Ralph’s Furniture while Division II will feature Appalachian Mineral, Blades & Fades, CEC, CPImagery, Dairy Queen, On Point Athletics and TKS Contracting.
The league is still looking for a league-wide sponsor according to Shaw. In addition to the 14 team sponsors, the league also has banner sponsors in CPImagery, Grazer’s Market, Salon Meraki, Endo Solutions, Klie Law Offices, Foster’s Marketing Group, Bacteria Busters Pro, Jenkins Subaru, W & W Quick Pit, Harris Wamsley Enterprise, Sealcoat Concepts LLC. and Almost Heaven Rustic Designs.
Pine View Buildings of Weston is constructing an equipment building for the league as well.
As the league continues to grow, Shaw is finding new ways to make the game accessible to more people as they are attempting to stream games this year.
“We are hoping to stream games this season with the help of Jarod Ramsey and Strategy IT,” stated Shaw. “They did the live stream for the Strawberry Festival and they’re hoping to be able to do more with our league this season. We started a YouTube page, simply called Upshur County Recreation Complex, so hopefully, fans will be able to watch our games via that channel.”
Another new feature this season will be the usage of the Elam Ending.
“This season will see our first using the increasingly popular Elam Ending,” explained Shaw. “This will make it so that every game will end on a made basket and there will be no overtimes. So it will cut down on game time while making every game have a game-winning shot, increasing excitement.”
Shaw stated that he is also in the process of scheduling a meet-and-greet with at least one current WVU basketball player and hoping to coordinate a few other guest appearances.
Mike Martin will serve as the league’s head referee.
“I’d also like to give a huge shout-out to Mike,” remarked Shaw. “He’s helping us by scheduling all of our refs for this season, all of whom will be traveling from out of the county. We can’t thank him enough!”
Monday’s schedule will see On Point meeting CPImagery at 6 p.m., On Point facing AMTC at 7 p.m. and KBAM squaring off against Strategy IT as the 8 p.m. game.