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By Staff | Feb 15, 2017

Photos provided Middle School girls go UNDEFEATED — 16-0, In left photo, Bottom Row L-R Miky Litton, Alyssa Phillips, Malaree Kline, Serenna Rodriguez, Linnsie Smith, Hayley Walton. Back Row L-R Tanley McEldowney, Audrey Cross, Madison Kline, Jules Hood, McKensie Thomas.

Youth sports are going full blast in the local communities with several basketball tournaments already in the books and several more yet to be played.

The Middlebourne Youth League has been busy with games being held almost nightly at the Stealey Green Center.

It is great to see so many coaches volunteering their time to teach these kids grades K-5 the skills of basketball. Just not too many years ago, I would never have dreamed children so young could enjoy the game. However, after watching a few games, I see they really do have a good time.

One of the best parts about getting kids of all ages involved is the physical exercise they receive. It’s very healthy and mentally, if nothing else it gets their interest in things other than video games, it gets them out of the house and teaches them how to interact and make new friends. It sure is something to watch! I didn’t get out to Middlebourne this year because so much is going on, but I understand there are sure some future stars on the horizon. Congratulations once again to all that get involved to move the children in the right direction.

Sistersville just finished up its regular season all-star tournament for kids K-2. Five teams played in the tournament with the Paden City A-team taking first place. The Sistersville B-team came in second. There was also a Paden City B-team, a team from River and a Sistersville A-team in the tournament.

The Sistersville Junior Athletics also hosted a fifth and sixth grade tournament for girls. Taking first place in the sixth grade division was the River girls with the Shortline girls finishing second. River’s fifth grade girls also won their division with Newport coming in a close second. The fourth grade tournament was won by St. Mary’s with River gaining second place.

The Paden City Grasshoppers and New Martinsville Grasshopper leagues have been busy and tournaments are being planned. When you throw in all these towns there are a lot of young children staying busy. If you have never been to one of these tournaments, then you need to take time to go watch a game or two. You won’t believe how skilled some of these kids are and how hard they play.

The competition is very tough and the coaches work real hard to make their teams winners. One of the best parts is how excited parents and grandparents get just watching their loved ones as they run up and down the court. I used to referee these games and I’ll tell you they can be real tough on you if the call goes against there team.

It’s not easy as these kids are just learning and you have to be very careful how you call the game, you want to make the right calls but sometimes the action is so fast it’s hard to keep up. Go to any game and you will hear someone yell,”get in the game ref,” “your missing a good game,” “call em both ways,” “where’s your glasses,” “that’s terrible.”

However, it’s all in fun and in the end the kids and fans all had a good time. I remember when by kids played, seemed like every night we were heading out for a tournament or cheering competition. Still to this day I wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Those trophy’s and metals made it all worth while. My attic is full of them including boxes of certificates, school awards and pictures of the past.

All this will soon be over and the attention will turn to baseball and softball. I think I saw the other day where they are already having sign ups. It won’t be long till the fields will need attention. Practice will start and the annual little league parades will kick things off.

In the meantime, it’s basketball and more basketball. Speaking of basketball, Paden City’s Middle School girls teams had much success this season as the seventh grade girls went undefeated with a 16-0 record while the eighth grade girls finished with a fine 15-3 record. Looks like the Wildcats may have a bright future for the next few years.

Sectional tournament play is right around the corner and the high school teams will be trying to advance to Charleston.

I think we just may have a team or two capable of making it. Playing tough competition all year long prepares you for tournament play and I think that just may be the case. With the girls sectionals already underway and the boys scheduled for next week get ready for some hot action. Whatever happens win or lose it won’t be because of lack of effort. Paden City and Tyler Consolidated teams both give it their all every game, the players and coaches both do their best every game. We can be proud of them, they represent their schools well.eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.