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Youth go to Court at Vice Mayors Challenge

Youth go to Court at Vice Mayors Challenge

Youth go to Court at Vice Mayors Challenge

Age 10 and under division, Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley, presents the first place trophy to the Opa-locka Sherbondy Park Team (in green) posed with the second place Ingram Park Team (in blue)

“REAL B-Ballers” responded to an invitation to compete in Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley’s Annual Basketball Classic at the City of Opa-locka’s Sherbondy Village Gymnasium, 215 North Perviz Avenue, Opa-locka 33054, Thursday-Saturday, December 27-29, 2012, by arriving on the court early, ready to play and laying claims to the 2012 championship trophies.

Several age divisions competed during the three-day play-offs, which culminated with excitement during the final tournament games on Saturday when Trinity Church found themselves face-to-face for the ball toss with the City of Opa-locka host team, who they played in two 18-minute halves to emerge victorious as the first place winners in the two final games. Trinity Church ruled the court after eliminating the Opa-locka team with scores of 40 – 35, and 53 – 36 in the age 16 and under division, and in the 14 and under category, respectively.

The basketball teams, comprised of community youth who practice throughout the year to prepare for this anticipated tournament, concluded the play-offs with the following end results…

Opa-locka’s Johnson, Kelley & Santiago Host

Trinity Church Team – Age 14 and under division, Vice Mayor Joseph L.Kelley, presents the first place trophy to the Trinity Church Team with Coach Dee Coach Blow

Winners: Trinity Church

Score 40 – 35 Age 16 – under

Runner-up: City of Opa-locka Parks and Recreation Team

Winners: Trinity Church Score 53 – 36 Age 14 – under

Runner-up: City of Opa-locka Parks and Recreation Team

Winners: City of Opa-locka Parks and

Recreation – Score 32 – 09 Age 12 -under

Runner-up: Liberty Square Colts

Winners: City of Opa-locka Sherbondy Park – Score 28 – 06 Age 10 – under

Runner-up: City of Opa-locka Ingram Park

Winners: City of Opa-locka Parks and Recreation – Score 16 – 12 Age 08 – under

Runner-up: Moore Park

Opa-locka’s Johnson, Kelley & Santiago Host

Vernisha Jenkins – 14 year-old Vernisha Jenkins, the only female registered in the Basketball Classic, played on Opa-locka’s runner up team, outscoring many of the boys.

Vice Mayor Kelley remarked, “All these athletes are winners, “The Basketball classic is a great way to encourage our youth to engage in productive activity during the holiday break!” The Vice Mayor clarified that the challenge is for everyone who qualifies, making note of 14 year-old Vernisha Jenkins who made the starting line-up for the City of Opa-locka team. “She can out-play some of the best guys on the team and, according to her father Coach Curtis “Blow” Jenkins, she is already being observed by Hialeah-Miami Lake, as well as other schools.”

Park Director Charles “Ben Gay” Brown commented on the discipline the tournament provides, “While taking a break from the television and video games, our kids learn sportsmanship and attitude control during these games.” He said, “Participating in local park programs also leaves less time for mischievousness and it is a clean, healthy way of competing through physical activity.” Several parent expressed appreciation for the opportunity to see their children’s talent on court. One parent inquired about the possibility of the Parks and Recreation Department including an adult division in the basketball challenge for next year’s games, since they are passed the allowed age for the competitions. “We’d like to ‘shoot’ a few ‘hoops’ too in this new gym, besides, I still ‘got game,’” he laughed! Brown said he would explore the possibility while informing him that the three Opalocka Park facilities are now open yearround, during park hours* for Opa-locka residents of all ages to enjoy.

Opa-locka’s Johnson, Kelley & Santiago Host

Age 12 and under division, Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley, presents the first place trophy to the Opa-locka P& R Team Coach by Curtis “Blow” Jenkins s

There were no sore losers in the Classic, just unwavering runners-up with the determination to “settle the score” next December! As in many of the professional games, there were compliments to the opponents from the winning team members, “They had real B-Ball skills!” But, immediately after the tribute, another part of the “bragging rights” could be heard through the traditional after-game “trash-talking,” when a player confidently bellowed, “Can’t wait to win again next year,” in anticipation of Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley’s 2013 Basketball Classic!

City of Opa-locka

Sherbondy, Ingram & Segal Parks

Hours of Operation

* Monday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

* Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For more information call: 305 953-3042 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

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