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Early optimism blooms in California for Grebb girls loop

| Thursday, June 20, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Today is the final day to register and try out for the new J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Girls' Basketball League.

Tryouts are 6-8 p.m. at the Mechanic Street Playground in California, and are open for all girls going to grades 9-12 in the fall.

This will be the inaugural season for the girls' loop, which will play on Mondays and Wednesdays at the lighted outdoor court located at the playground.

There is a registration fee of $25 per player. For more information, call Melanie Greco, director of the girls' league, at (724) 986-0655.

Greco has been pleased with the attendance from the tryouts already held this week, saying nearly 30 girls from eight different high schools have joined the league.

“We are expecting several more girls to show up tonight because their other leagues have been winding down this week,” Greco said.

Greco said league organizers are hoping to get a maximum of 40 girls for four teams the first season.

“We won't use more than 40 kids for the first year, but if we don't get 40 it's OK,” Greco said. “I'm really pleased with what I've seen so far. We have a lot of young kids, underclassmen, which is good for the future of the league.

“The girls are really excited about the new league. They either had brothers who played in the boys' league or had been up here for boys' games. They know what's been going on at Mechanic Street Playground and are thrilled to be a part of the very first girls' league. Really, it is exciting.”

The draft of players for the four teams will be held Saturday and the season will tip off July 8.

Doubleheaders (7 and 8 p.m.) will be Mondays and Wednesdays, with the title game slated for July 31.

Coaches for the girls' league include Charel Allen, a former Monessen and Notre Dame star and current European professional player, along with Brownsville girls' varsity coach Greg Golembiewski, Ray Huffman and Bill Greco.

Melanie Greco said two team sponsors have been locked in and she is looking through potential sponsors for the other two teams.

The J. Budd Grebb Memorial Summer Basketball League for high school boys is entering its fifth year and has six teams of 10 players on a roster.

League chairman Phil Pergola said the boys' loop has grown so well that nearly a dozen players were not able to be taken during the recent draft because the numbers were too high.

“We have found that trying to put more than 10 kids on a team just doesn't work,” Pergola said. “So, we max at 60 kids (for six teams).”

Boys' games will be played every Tuesday and Thursday, with tripleheaders starting at 7 p.m.

Opening night for the boys league is Tuesday, with the league championship scheduled for Aug. 1.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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