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Picayune Basketball Association preparing for the start of the season

Community members only have a few more weeks to register to participate in the Picayune Basketball Association’s yearly season with the final day to sign up being Dec. 19.

Those who are interested can sign up on Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. or on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon in the Picayune Memorial High School gymnasium.

Registration costs $60 and is open to interested athletes from kindergarten through sixth grade.

Eric Vianney, who is the PMHS varsity basketball coach and runs the PBA, said the current plan is to have evaluations on Jan. 9.

The day will be used to put athletes through certain drills to evaluate skill, while also figuring out the number of athletes in each age range.

After that has been determined, teams will be formed.

Vianney said the gym will be at 25 percent capacity for spectators and that all community members in the facility will have to wear a mask.

Players’ temperatures will be taken, hand sanitizer will be distributed and social distancing will be enforced when possible. Following the evaluation day on Jan. 9, the hope is that games will begin seven days later on Jan. 16.

Teams will compete every Saturday throughout the season.

Usually the season lasts seven to eight weeks, so it’s likely games will be taking place through the first or second week of March.

All plans are subject to change depending on how the situation regarding COVID-19 develops, but Vianney is hopeful for a normal season.

The organization’s games and practices allow young children to learn the game of basketball and fall in love with it.

Vianney said because of how the sport impacted his life, he’s hoping the organization can provide that same inspiration to younger generations.

“Basketball, for a person like me, gave me everything I’ve got. I’m looking at future young kids that are around and I’m hoping we can create that same opportunity,” Vianney said.

The PBA also serves as an important feeder program for the high school squad.  Fundamental aspects of the game can be taught and emphasized to young players so they have a good foundation to build on moving forward.

Vianney said the progress is noticeable as the players get more time on the court and more comfortable with the sport.

“That’s the beauty of it. You can see somebody changing, learn to love it and want to get better, and that’s beautiful. We try to push and help the best we can and hopefully that can inspire a lot of kids to come out and play basketball,” Vianney said.