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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Basketball tryouts Sat. at Henry Park

(May 28, 2015) Berlin resident William Johnson, a principal at the alternative school in Pocomoke, is holding tryouts for his ambitious new youth basketball league on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Henry Park in Berlin.
Johnson, working with the nonprofit Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, received the approval of the Berlin mayor and council during a meeting earlier this month, and has set his sights on a month-long summer season for the league, with as many as 200 participants.
Several elected officials, as well as the Berlin Police Department, have offered financial support. B.J. Johnson, who runs the basketball program at Stephen Decatur High School, is on board as a consultant.
The idea, William Johnson said, came from his upbringing in Wilmington, Del.
I grew up with this model,” he said. “In the summer that was what we lived for. We went to school all year, some of us got summer jobs, but at six o’clock it was game time. We all a went to this one park and we got drafted and we ended up playing.”
Johnson, who has lived in Berlin since 2009, believes Henry Park, on Flower Street, is the perfect place for a similar league.
“This seems to be the essence of this neighborhood,” he said. “From what I can see, this is where it all starts.”
It doesn’t hurt that the town recently built new bleachers surrounding the court on three sides.
“It looks like Rucker Park in Harlem,” Johnson said.
The league would run from June 15 – July 20 with high school teams playing Mondays and Wednesdays, 6-8:30 p.m., using all three courts. Middle school games would take place Tuesdays and Thursdays, on two courts.
Johnson has contacted 18 schools in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties, as well as a handful in neighboring states, and envisions an 18-team league. His fundraising goal is to raise $7,700, enough to pay for equipment costs, including uniforms, and hire professional referees.
As of this week he was more than halfway there. Johnson hopes to raise additional funds during the tryout session at Henry Park, as well as recruit coaches for the league. The cost is $25 per player.
“My goal is to have enough coaches and enough kids here Saturday to have a skills competition and actually have a draft,” Johnson said. “Right now I’m fundraising, I’m soliciting for coaches, I’m reaching out to the media – we just need to get the word out. I’m praying that this actually happens.”
For more information, call Johnson at 302-893-7175, or email Use the subject line “basketball league interest.”