Grebb loop expands to add a league for girls with former Monessen, Notre Dame star's support
Heading into its fifth season of play, the J. Budd Grebb Summer Basketball League is expanding.
No, the league for high school eligible boys is not increasing from the six teams it has annually.
That format has worked too well to change.
The expansion comes in the way of a girls' league, that will be for high school eligible female players.
“We have had some requests to either have a girls' league or let girls play with the boys the last couple of years, so we knew the interest was there,” said Phil Pergola, chairman of the Grebb League. “So we are going to go with a four-team girls' league for this season and see how it goes. It is our hope to see it blossom like the boys' league has.”
Melanie Greco, who oversees Beth-Center's instructional basketball leagues for boys and girls, will serve as director of the girls league.
“There is a need for a league for girls in the area and I'm confident that this one will be a success,” said Greco.
The J. Budd Grebb Girls' Summer League received instant credibility when Charel Allen, a former Monessen and Notre Dame star who currently plays professionally overseas, committed to coaching one of the four teams.
“Charel, with her success and background, is a great role model for girls,” Greco said. “She is a good start for us.”
Greco also expressed interest in contacting former McKeesport and WNBA star Swin Cash about coaching a team.
Pergola said that while the boys' and girls' leagues will use the same rules and play games at the Mechanic Street Playground in California, their seasons will be different lengths.
The boys' season will run from June 25 to Aug. 1 with tripleheaders on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Mechanic Street, while the girls league will operate from July 8-31 and play doubleheaders on Mondays and Wednesdays on the same asphalt court.
The boys' league, which has 25 openings for players for the six teams, will hold signups 6-8 p.m. June 10-13 at the playground. The boys' draft will be June 15.
The girls' league, which is hoping to get 40 players, will hold signups 6-8 p.m. June 17-22 at the playground. The girls' draft will be June 22.
Last year, 19 school districts were represented in the boys' league, up from 16 the previous year.
“We are really happy with where the boys' league has gone,” Pergola said. “Our interest area is growing and I think it is because of the uniqueness of our league in having kids drafted to play on different teams. It is a fresh approach for kids to get to play on a team with kids from other schools.
“The girls' league will run under the same guidelines.”
The registration fee for each league is $25 per player and all interested players — even those returning — should attend one of the signups at the Mechanic Street Playground to fill out a form and pay their fees.
The league is sponsored by the California Borough Recreation Authority.
“We couldn't do what we do without the support of the recreation authority,” said Pergola.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.