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City's adult league a success
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The Ceres Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department started offering a 3-on-3 adult basketball league in 2003. Saturday, May 28 marked the end of the Spring 2005 season.

This year's league featured 90 players on 18 teams.

"This is the most successful Spring league the city has ever had," said Traci Farris, recreation coordinator. "For some reason, people want to get active before summertime."

Just eight teams signed up last fall. Twelve teams participated in the spring of 2004.

Five females competed in the 2005 Spring League, including 1999 Ceres High graduate Shannon Donnelly. She led Bulldogs to a second-place finish in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs in 1998-99. Donnelly starred at Cal State Stanislaus for four seasons and had her number retired. She recently tried out for the Sacramento Monarchs of the Women's National Basketball Association.

Kassi Baker, Ceres High JV girls basketball and volleyball coach, helped create the adult league.

"It was Kassi's idea," Farris said. "She's been helping out with the Ceres Hoopsters League for five years. She also does our volleyball camp and this."

Said Kassi: "I knew it would be big."

The league wouldn't exist without support from Ceres High's athletic director.

"We're thankful to Phil de la Porte because he lets us use the gym," Farris said.

The 3-on-3 Adult Basketball League is offered twice a year, including once in the spring and fall.

Baker has watched just about every game.

"I enjoy it," said Baker, league supervisor. "You get to meet a lot of new people."

Each season lasts 10 weeks.

Games are played at Ceres High School in the spring and Mae Hensley Jr. High School in the fall on Saturdays. Each team plays one game per week.

"It's self-officiated," Farris said. "All we do is provide scorekeepers and timekeepers."

League officials also promote good sportsmanship and respect among players. Sometimes, trash talking occurs.

"We've had four seasons. And we've never had to kick out a team for disciplinary reasons," Farris said. "We've been really lucky."

The city plans to expand its basketball program in the future.

"We're going to offer a 3-on-3 league for ninth through 12th graders," Farris said. "We might do that this fall. If we don't do it in the fall, we're going to do it in the spring."

The 2005 Fall 3-on-3 Adult Basketball League starts on Sept. 10. Cost is $100 per team. A team consists of three players and two substitutes for a total of five players. Pre-registration is required by Sept. 2 and there is a maximum of 12 teams.

"Five teams have already signed up," Farris said.

To register, contact Farris at 538-5682 or stop by the Ceres Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department at 2720 Second Street. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier