September 28, 2005 - It's time to bust out the Chuck Taylor high tops and set up the peach basket, because basketball is coming to Oro Valley. And while the reference may be archaic, the league is very new. Working in conjunction with the town's parks and recreation department, the Oro Valley Basketball League for kids will begin play in early December and run through February.
Conjured up by Beth Ann Baden and Herb Williams, a pair of self-described "basketball junkies," the Oro Valley Winter Hoops League will be open to boys and girls ages five and older, through the eighth grade. The season will conclude with a March Madness-style tournament.
Baden and Williams, the school resource officer for Ironwood Ridge High School and the assistant girls basketball coach, believe that teaching fundamentals at an early age and providing a place to play will benefit the young athletes and the town's two high schools, Canyon Del Oro and Ironwood Ridge.
"We're hoping to create a basketball fever in town," said Baden who relocated to Oro Valley after creating from scratch and running similar programs in Darien, Conn.
Leagues will be broken down by grade instead of by players' ages so kids will have a chance to play with their friends. Games will be played at Wilson K-8 School, 2330 W. Glover Road; Ironwood Ridge High School, 2475 W. Naranja Drive; and Resurrection Elementary School, 11575 N. First Ave.
Registration has already begun, and players can sign up on Saturdays through the end of October from 9 a.m. to noon at Oro Valley Town Hall, 11000 N. La Cañada Drive. Players and coaches can also sign up Monday through Friday at the Oro Valley Parks and Recreation office, 680 W. Calle Concordia, during business hours. The league is looking for people who will volunteer to coach and will ask parents who are interested to do so when they sign up their children.
For more information, visit www.townoforovalley.net or call 229-5050.
Although former Mountain View High School cross country star Emily McGregor is burning up the courses of the Pac-10 (see The Sporting Life), she isn't the only Mountain View alum making strides on the collegiate level throughout the western states. Former Mountain Lions joining McGregor on the UA squad are Shawn Cole and Chris Ogle. After battling with anemia, which caused him to miss his track season as a junior, Cole has made the Wildcats' roster this year in a walk-on role.
Other ex-Mountain Lions competing on the NCAA level are Reid Ellis, No. 2 runner at Adams State College in Colorado, and McGregor's twin sister, Valerie, who is running for Colorado State.
Also running for Northwest resident James Li's Arizona squad are senior Jen Ford of Catalina Foothills High School and Karen Langdorf, a junior, who graduated from Canyon Del Oro High School.
Don't be surprised to see Li's son, Anthony, in the NCAA in the future. The younger Li is a freshman this year and is competing on the Ironwood Ridge High School cross country squad.
Just for kicks
The CDO-Charlton Soccer Academy has added a new member to its coaching staff, Keith Jones. Jones played professionally for 20 years with stints at Chelsea, the current Premier League Champions, and also with Charlton. The CDO-Charlton merger has been such a success that the club is expanding fast, with a new junior academy opening in Marana soon.
Let there be tennis
The Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Country Club, 10555 N. La Cañada Drive, will unveil the new look of its tennis courts at a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 30. The new purple courts are part of an overhaul of the facility, which started in the spring.