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If you happened to drive down Roan Creek Rd on a Saturday during the past few months, you might have noticed a lack of empty parking spaces at Roan Creek Elementary.

No, there hasn’t been an epidemic of bad behavior amongst students causing a colossal need for Saturday detention. And no, they aren’t trying to make up for the run-of-weather days we’ve had recently. I believe there are a number of those days built into the school year anyways. What you would be witnessing is the congregation of supportive families and friends from across the county as they cheered on the Johnson County youth basketball league.

Holly Brown, Vice President of the league, provided some insight into the inner workings of the league. Those that participated ranged from kindergarten-age to sixth graders. The league was broken down into three leagues, simply A, B, and C. Each league then had its own set of teams that would compete throughout the regular season to determine playoff seeding. The kids were separated into teams as either Roan Creek, Doe, or Mountain City/Laurel.

The playoffs for each league started on February 13, with the championship games played on February 18. Mountain City/Laurel team 3 won League A. Mountain City/Laurel team 1 won League B. Doe team 1 won League C.

Pulling off a successful league such as this requires dedication not only from the young athletes but also from those that supported the league both on and off the court. Holly stated of the coaches, “they are all volunteers.” On top of their normal day-to-day work/family duties, these coaches would set aside time throughout the week to help mentor these kids not only at the games but at their practices as well. Speaking about others that helped the league, Holly also pointed out “Mechelle Arney and the middle school student council group for volunteering and providing concessions this year.” Holly added, “We also had amazing cheerleaders for Mountain City, Doe, and Roan Creek. Along with their coaches who did an outstanding job.”

As fun and as exciting as the games were, nothing in life comes for free, not even youth basketball leagues. Commenting on how the league is funded, Holly said, “self-funded through sign-ups, and all the parents/family and anyone who comes out to watch/support the games on Saturdays. We also received a donation from the Marshall family last year.” Along with donations and sign-up fees, the relatively low price of admission helps keep the scoreboard on for the kids.

Andrew Freeman, who has served in various roles throughout the years, a coach, ref, and now the president of the league, has a son of his own that plays in the league. Andrew said, “My son loves basketball; it’s his favorite sport. His favorite moment this season was when we won the championship and finished undefeated.”

When asked who they would like to thank, Holly said, “I want to thank Andrew Freeman, Mischelle Simcox, Mechelle Arney, Trent Snyder, and Josh Allen, who are on the youth league board. A huge thank you to all the Basketball and cheerleading coaches, parents, and everyone that volunteered to help this basketball season be successful. Our refs deserve an award not only for their hard work but they take the time to help the kids learn the game on and off the court. All the kids look up to them, especially mine, because they come every single Saturday to support, teach and help them grow in the sport they love. Gavin Reece, Graham Reece, Gary Evans, and Roger Shaw were our main refs this season. We also had two high-school boys that devoted every Saturday to working the front entrance, Noah Eastridge and Connor Simcox, who kept the clock. These two also had a positive impact on our youth.” Andrew added, “I would like to thank everyone from our board members and all the parents, coaches, and referees. It takes everyone to have a successful season. Thank you all!”

So next season, if you happen to be heading down Road Creek Rd on a Saturday afternoon and see an empty parking spot, go ahead and pull in. There’s something special going on inside.


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