Pocahontas Teams Win First Annual Youth Basketball Tourney Sponsored By Highland Recreation Commission
Monterey, VA – The Highland County Recreation Commission held a Youth Basketball Tournament in Monterey this past Saturday. There was one tournament for fourth grade teams and one for fifth grade teams. Fourth and fifth grade teams from Highland County, Marlinton and Green Bank played a total of 10 games in the high school and elementary school gyms. Recreation Director Kenny Hiner talks about preparing the Highland kids for Saturday’s competition.
“This is our first annual Youth Basketball tournament; we’re hoping to do this every year,” says Hiner. “In the fourth and fifth grades here in Highland, we’ve been practicing since late January. We gave them a goal to shoot for this year, we concentrated more on showing them the fundamentals and teaching them to shoot properly, getting them ready for this tournament was the goal. I think they enjoyed it more this year.”
Kenny goes on to give the results of the two tournaments.
“All the teams I thought played great,” he says. “Marlinton won the fifth grade tournament in a great game, it was a great championship game; Green Bank won the fourth grade game. The fifth grade tournament, it was an awesome championship game; Green Bank came from 10 points down and they only lost by 2.”
“It was a nail biter, I was really impressed by how hard the kids played; I was really proud of the way our kids played, both levels of the fourth and fifth grade. We played really competitive, we looked really good. It was a huge attendance, more than I had expected, I thought the crowds were great. They supported their teams – there were times you couldn’t even hear in the gym they were screaming and hollering so loud.”
Kenny talks about how important all the volunteers were to the success of the tournament.
“Well I want to thank the coaches; Cole Armstrong and myself did the fifth grade and Patrick Conners and JD Hiner did the fourth grade,” says Hiner. “I want to thank all the volunteers who helped with the admissions, helped with the concessions, the 50-50, the clean up, and especially the referees, they dealt with a lot, but they hung in there and they did an awesome job. We couldn’t put on something like this without volunteers. I want to thank everyone who volunteered, I want to thank the teams from Marlinton and Green Bank for coming, and we hope to have them back next year.”
Kenny would like to look at the possibility of expanding the tournament in the future to include other area schools.
“Bath and Pendleton County have fifth grade teams; I talked to a man down in Harman, he’s got a fourth and a fifth grade team,” says Hiner. “They start them off in fourth and fifth grade, that’s what make a basketball program so good, up into varsity level. Start out in the fourth and fifth grade and teach them the fundamentals so that when they get up into these higher grade levels, they can concentrate on teaching them more basketball than just the fundamentals. We want to try to keep these kids going and build a feeder program for our varsity sports in the future.”
Kenny is already starting the next sports program for county youth.
“We’ve got T-ball registration going on and I’m hoping to start it on April 24th,” he says. “We’ll need volunteer coaches for that. And also if we do have volunteer coaches, we are having a coaching clinic to certify you as a T-ball coach and it will be April 10th at the Mountain View room at the [Highland] library.”
Look for the kids fishing tournament coming up in May and the Mountain Mama Road Bike Challenge the first weekend in August.