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Sports Editor

TOWNSEND — At about 4:45 on Monday, Pat Murphy was doing his version of dotting the ‘i’s’ and crossing the ‘t’s’. He had brought the basketballs in to the back gymnasiums and was busy bringing the baskets down to 10 feet for another busy night of hoop.

A half and hour later, Murphy surveyed approximately 15 girls who were going through their paces. He ran the players through some drills before letting them scrimmage. Murphy enjoyed every second, exclaiming “it doesn’t get any better than this.”

The long-time North Middlesex girls varsity coach was enjoying the present while looking over the future. Under his guidance, the North Middlesex Junior Varsity Summer Basketball League is back in business after being gone too long.

“The first hour on Monday and Tuesday nights is an open concept,” said Murphy. “From 5:00 to 6:00 the gym is open to seventh and eighth-grade girls, and no signup in advance is needed. The key is to get the girls playing and to have some fun.”

At 6:15, the first two of four junior varsity games start, with the other two starting at 7:15. The games are four, eight-minute quarters with running time except for the final minute of each quarter.

The league is comprised of eight teams – two each from TAP and Groton-Dunstable, plus Gardner, Nashoba, Lunenburg and Oakmont.

“This league is back after a five year absence and I can’t tell you how glad I am,” said Murphy. “This is going to rekindle the development process, and a lot of young kids are getting extra playing time in the summer. The response has been good.”

Murphy, noted for his perpetual optimism, is on hand throughout to lend moral support to anyone willing to listen.

“The girls get to play in more of a low-key environment,” he said. “Nobody fouls out and each coach is allowed only two timeouts a game to avoid overcoaching. The other schools are glad that this league is back. The most important thing is that the girls learn how to play the game of basketball, and all the coaches on hand share that philosophy.”