By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO March 21, 2008 The 2008 Village of Monticello Youth Basketball Program wrapped up last Saturday at Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School.
The program, which has been held for the past 15 years, is open to third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students in the Monticello Central School District.
Under the guidance of Village of Monticello Parks and Recreation Department Director Betsy Conaty and Michael Barnofsky, the youngsters spent an hour every Saturday for the past several weeks learning more about the game of basketball and having fun while doing so.
This year, Monticello High School students Dennis Stafford and Rob Venditti helped Conaty and Barnofsky coach the boys and girls.
“The kids love it, they can’t wait to get here and play,” Conaty said. “They are willing to learn more about basketball.”
After Barnofsky led the 22 youngsters at Saturday’s final session through some warm-up exercises, the boys and girls played a full-court basketball game.
The members of each team counted off from 1 to 11 and lined up along the court.
When Barnofsky called certain numbers for instance, 1, 2, 3 and 4 those players from each team ran onto the court.
With some assistance from their adult and high school coaches, the boys and girls used dribbling, passing and shooting skills to score a basket.
Once a basket was recorded, those players returned to the sidelines so some other players could take their turn on the court.
Following the game, the kids were recognized for being a part of the program.
Each boy and girl received a personalized trophy, a Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA participation certificate, a Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA calendar, a Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA player’s guide and a Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA poster.
In the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA player’s guide, current NBA and WNBA players including Sue Bird, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Ruth Riley, Tina Thompson, Luke Walton and Sophia Young offer youngsters advice about how to play the game of basketball, dealing with their coaches, talking with their parents and the importance of sportsmanship.
Youngsters who participated in the program included: Alyssa Archie, Paulie Accomando Jr., Mark Adams, Daniel Aguirre, Trisha Babcock, DeAndrea Bowen, Demitra Bowen, Miguel Certa, Anna Fiore, Tahyrah Fore, Renee Gibson, Terrell Goodson, Torri Hadaway, Michael Hope Jr., Scott Hughes, Travon Jarrette, Daequan Jordan, Arianna Lindsey, Imani Luke, Desteni Perez, Ileytza Perez, Joel Reyes, Brandon Rosario, Amanda Ruggiero, Samantha Schantz, Jeremy Schuk, Thomas Schuk, Tyler Simon, Deontae Smith, Attilah Snowden, Alexandra Stant, Ashley Walker, Da’Khari Williams and Yashae Wright.