By Joshua Trupo
Sponsored by City of Manassas Park Parks & Recreation
Time winding down, the clock about to run out. The player heaves the ball up, a desperation three-point attempt. The ball soars towards the basket, bounces off the rim, then goes in causing the crowd to go wild. To hit that game-winning shot, that’s all any basketball player has ever wanted. This opportunity is afforded every year to hundreds of young players by the Manassas Park Youth Basketball League in Prince William County.
About the League
Started twenty-six years ago by Catherine Moretta, then Director of the Manassas Park Community Center, the MPYBL has grown over the years to become a staple in the lives of many youngsters all over Prince William and even reaching out to some from Fairfax County. What started as an attempt to train and funnel young women to local high school basketball teams has evolved into an organization providing basketball and teamwork training to young men and women of all ages and from all walks of life.
For years, the league has been run by Mike Arrington and his Athletic Assistant Heather Henry, who have grown the league together, a two-person team working to bring the joy of basketball to all their young players. The league finds help from volunteer coaches and parents who stay involved. All of them are greatly appreciated individuals who work hard to bring a focus on the fundamentals and the spirit of competition to their teams.
Before the pandemic hit, the league included around 500 players. These days, the numbers are closer to 225, but there is the hope and expectation that the league will continue its previous pattern of growth upon a return to normalcy. More and more parents and children are looking for reliable and affordable sports activities, something the Manassas Park Youth Basketball League is proud to provide.
The league, finding sponsorships from organizations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sheetz, is able to provide equipment such as balls, NBA replica jerseys, and so much more to their teams and players. Every year, save for last year which was derailed by the pandemic, the leagues play during the winter, culminating in the championship games taking place in March. This year, the championships will be played on March 26 at the Manassas Park Community Center, and all are invited to attend. These championship games for all age brackets have an electric energy that simply must be experienced.
A Variety of Players
The MPYBL brings the sport to youngsters of all ages, from their “Biddy Ball” four- and five-year-old players to their teenage travel league members. Many of these players have grown with the league from the very beginning, working their way up through the age brackets and earning starting spots on their high school teams as freshmen and sophomores. A significant accomplishment.
These players from different places and different schools came together over the years to learn the value of practice, competition, and the fundamentals of basketball. There is Tey Barbour and Quentin Davis from Osbourn High School. Trey Terrell and Tavyahn Faison from Osbourn Park. Isaiah Vick from Patriot. Jace Garza from Manassas Park High School. And, twins Jalen and Jashaun Morrison from Unity Reed.
Altogether, the league has helped grow and train many high school players across the county, creating a valuable funnel system into these high school teams. With the hard work of the staff, volunteers, and the players themselves, this league has managed to become an integral part in the lives of so many kids over the years.
Every player aspires to a chance to hit that awe-inspiring, game-winning shot. Through the Manassas Park Youth Basketball League, that dream can be made reality. Congratulations to all the staff, parents, and players that have made that opportunity possible and will provide it to new members as they continue to grow and expand over the upcoming years.