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Picayune Basketball Association teaching kids fundamentals

The Picayune Basketball Association hosts practices and games for young athletes interested in learning about the game of basketball.

There are 10 teams total with games starting Jan. 11 and the season will continue until the middle of March.

Practices take place Thursday nights while the games take place on Saturdays.

Teams vary in age starting with kindergarteners up to 6th graders.

Picayune Memorial High School’s Head Basketball Coach Eric Vianney is a major part of the association and helps run the organization.

The younger age ranges are taught the basics of basketball.

Fundamentals like how to dribble, pass and shoot are all main topics of learning for the athletes.

Some of the children have never played the sport before, so PBA serves as an introduction to the world of basketball.

The older kids, mostly the 5th and 6th graders, are taught some of the finer details of the game as they prepare to move into the junior varsity level.

The teams with older players play in games that are refereed in the style of junior varsity bouts to try and get the young athletes adjusted to the different rules and guidelines of junior high basketball.

Vianney said he has noticed that the children who have never played the sport before show improvement by the middle of the program as they get more comfortable on the court.

“It’s just about repetition. After the third and fourth week you see people understanding what the game is about,” Vianney said.

Basketball is a competitive game, but Vianney said the main focus of the organization is to make sure the children enjoy themselves.

If a child enjoys their time with PBA it may entice them to pursue the sport more seriously as they grow older.

“You just want to see the kids enjoy themselves and having fun. If they can learn a few skills in the process that’s great, but for me it’s about exposing those kids to basketball,” Vianney said.

PBA also serves as a feeder program for Picayune’s junior varsity and varsity basketball programs.

Vianney can nurture the talent coming through the pipeline and have an impact on how the athletes are taught the game of basketball.

This translates into the athletes knowing the Picayune system of play before entering the program.

“For Picayune it’s a must to have a feeder program. The past two years the junior high players all came from PBA. We have maybe one or two who came from out of town, but most of the kids are from PBA,” Vianney said.

The organization has a plethora of teams, which means practices and games require assistance from the community in order to run smoothly.

“They put some work in to make this possible and I really appreciate them. A lot of coaches and (people) in town who want to give back come here and coach those kids,” Vianney said.