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Rec. basketball starting up just as soccer season ends

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SHIRLEY — The soccer balls have been put away and it’s time to get the basketballs out for the Shirley Recreation Commission.

After a successful soccer program this fall, Rick Gibbons and Linda Cournoyer are busy with the next sport on the calendar.

The town runs the Nashoba Valley Basketball League, a combination travel team and in-town league for over 150 kids from K-8. The K-4 teams are in-town while the K-8 teams play Ayer, Littleton and Lancaster.

The league focuses on fundamentals for the younger athletes while the competition is much stiffer for the older ones. “We concentrate on drill and skills for the younger kids,” Gibbons said. “Our travel team is a spin-off of this league. We merged with Ayer to create the travel team.”

The travel teams plays the majority of their games in tournaments throughout the winter season. “We have some kids who have a basketball in their hands seven days a week.” Gibbons said.

The teams are grouped together according to grade level with the fourth graders playing with the fifth graders and the seventh graders playing with the eighth graders. ”

The basketball season runs from December to February and games are played at the Shirley Middle School gym and the Lura A. White gym.