Lanett’s weekly men’s hoops league helps pay for children to play youth sports

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, March 30, 2022

By Noah Patheja
Special to the Valley Times-News

The Lanett Recreation Department has started its second year of a men’s basketball league that raises money for youth sports. The money raised is used to cover the costs families would have to pay for children to participate in recreational sports.

The league consists of 15 teams.

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Trent McCants, the director of the Lanett Recreation Department, plays in the league.

“The stands are always packed,” McCants said. “We have vendors. Sometimes we have people donate. Sometimes at halftime, we might have a kid come and shoot a basketball for a bike or a free meal. We just do different things for the kids.”

The impact of the league has already been seen throughout all recreational youth sports.

“Last year, we only had 25 or 30 kids running track. This year, we have over 70 kids running track,” McCants said. “For basketball, last year we had only 70 kids. This year we have over 170 kids. We’re a small town. When we have 20 or more kids playing, that’s big to us.”

The Lanett Recreation Department was also able to start a youth soccer league due to the funds raised. The basketball league was invented not only as a way to pay for youth sports, but also as a fun way to spend Sunday afternoons for the players.

“When I was younger, we always had something to do on Sundays,” McCants said. “It’s like a throwback era for me. We bring everybody together to play on Sunday because you never really work on Sunday.”

Although the league is mostly for fun, some of the players are former pros who take it too seriously.

“Sometimes it’s too competitive,” McCants said. “I have to remind them ‘this is for the kids, guys. It’s for the kids.’”

The league started last year but only featured 10 teams. It has expanded all the way to 15 teams this year but won’t expand any further due to time constraints.

“We can’t add more teams because we only play one day a week,” said McCants. “We play on Sunday. We start at 12 after church. If we add more teams, we’ll play until 10 o’clock at night.”

The league started this month and will be played until July at the LB Sykes Community Center.