Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
DUDLEY - Former Shepherd Hill basketball coach and current Charlton Middle School Principal Dean Packard started the Dudley-Charlton boys and girls summer basketball league in 1992 and it’s still going, and is bigger and stronger than ever.
“We started the league with four teams in 1992,” said Packard. “It was a way that I could make our basketball program at the high school level a little better by keeping kids playing, and it’s grown exponentially over the years. Each year we have gotten bigger and bigger, culminating this year with about 640 kids playing.”
The participating teams come in from all over Central Mass, Connecticut and Rhode Island, including Dudley, Charlton, Webster, and Oxford.
There are four boys divisions starting with grade three up to grade ten and three girls divisions, also from grade three to grade ten.
The whole idea behind the league is kid-development. We want the kids to have the ball in their hands and we want them to work on their skills,” said Packard.
The league will take place all day Saturday and Sunday for the next four weeks at the Shepherd Hill Regional High School outdoor basketball courts.
Packard’s daughters Brook and Abbey, who both attend Shepherd Hill, and his son John, are all involved and help with the league, making it a real family affair.
“This league has been good for kids in this community and it’s been good for all kinds of people,” he said.