Youth basketball 3

Wallowa’s Isabella Gillery (15) and Abby Straight (14) capture a rebound from Joseph’s Basey Dawson(far right) during Wallowa’s second-game win.

After high school basketball season and its playoffs recede into happy memories, it’s time for the next generation of players to take the floor. In Wallowa County, kids in grades 5 and 6 hit the hardwood, showing off their skills and passion for the game. Wallowa includes their 4 th graders on the teams. While the games are fun to watch—there’s the occasional player from the opposing team who grabs a rebound and tosses it immediately toward the wrong basket, or kids who simply hang ferociously onto the treasured ball once it’s in their possession — youngster’s basketball also showcases remarkably skilled players who will be future stars. It may be fun for adults to watch, but for the players, the game is serious stuff. It’s not so much whether their team wins or loses, but about ball handling, racing down-court with a precious, stolen leather orb, and whether for that instant, the ball heaved skyward actually gets into the basket that is so, so, so far overhead.

The next games in this junior version of March Madness pit Enterprise against Wallowa, Tuesday at 4:30 PM in the Enterprise High School gym. On Wednesday at 4:30, Joseph and Wallowa renew their rivalry at Wallowa High School. In each meet, girls play the first two games, boys the second two games.

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