Youth Hoops


Kindergarten through second grade basketball players gather with high school volunteers at Saturday morning basketball on February 11th, 2023.

Karli Blood, Social Media Editor

WELLS RIVER – For more than fourteen years, Blue Mountain Union has held Saturday morning basketball for grades kindergarten through second grade.  The program introduces young athletes to the basics of basketball while teaching them lessons like teamwork and sportsmanship. High school athletes volunteer their time under the guidance of Brad Houghton, the Elementary Athletic Director. He believes that Saturday morning basketball benefits all ages, stating “I also believe that the older kids benefit too by passing on their knowledge.”  By watching the high schoolers interact with the kids, Houghton recognizes that everyone is branching out of their comfort zones and learning new things. 

Every year, the goal is to have each elementary athlete learn at least one skill, from shooting, dribbling, or passing, to skills like patience and work ethic. However, the most important thing about this program is that kids are having fun and want to come back and continue playing basketball. Practices start out with stretching, then there are four stations: lay-ups, shooting, passing, and dribbling. Practices end with a fun game or a scrimmage, allowing kids to learn, exercise, and have fun all at the same time. 

“This program benefits our community in a lot of ways,” explains Houghton, emphasizing the importance of building connections between younger and older kids. Saturday morning basketball is one of the many reasons why growing up in a small school can be a wonderful experience.