MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- The Murfreesboro Basketball League tipped off its 2014 season last weekend.
Playing at seven different locations, age divisions from 5 to 15 made up of boys and girls have taken to the hardwood for their seven-week regular season in a league sponsored by the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department.
“We have 126 teams in the league this year,” said Thomas Laird, athletic superintendent for the department. “We are the oldest league in the county and have a record number of teams and players this year.
“The season is ahead of us,” he said, “and it is exciting for everyone from the players to the coaches to the parents. It is a great start for the year.”
Malaysia Jones, a Bradley Academy student, played her first game Jan. 11.
“I played pretty good and so did the team,” Jones said of the Rockers. “We held on and came on strong at the end of the game to win.
“My defense was good and so was my offense,” added Jones, who scored two points and who doesn’t lack confidence in her ability.
“I do not need to improve on anything because I have everything,” she said. “I have it all. The team and I will get it together and have a good season. I am looking forward to playing more games and winning.”
The weekend of play was filled with first-time players in the league and first-year coaches.
Rookie Keenan Hardy is the head coach of the Mystics in the 9- to 11-year-old girls division.
“It was certainly an experience,” Hardy said with a smile. “The rules are different for this age group than if you were coaching the upper divisions. And getting the players use to these rules and getting them to play together is the hardest part.
“And with some the girls being more advanced than others, teaching them to come together as a team even though they are on different levels of skill is what I have to do.”
Hardy lost his first game but said he felt like they will get in the win column soon.
“Defense will be the key to use having a good season,” he said. “We were in the game up until the end when we got beat on the boards and just not playing good defense. The determining factor in our loss was getting out-rebounded and not getting aggressive on defense. Our offense was OK, but we have work to do to get better and we will. We have a good team.”
Game sites are at SportsCom, John Pittard Elementary School, Siegel Elementary School, Patterson Park Community Center, Black Fox Elementary School, Northfield Elementary School and Cason Lane Academy.
“Our overall goal in the league is to create good citizens,” Laird said. “The volunteers in this league make it happen. We couldn’t be more pleased with the league this year and with everyone involved in making it a success from the first game of the season to the last game of the season.”