It happens every winter: young athletes from Oneonta and surrounding communities converge on the Oneonta Boys and Girls Club for Pickett's Basketball League. It's been happening every winter for forty years.

The league began in 1973 with six teams. Forty years later almost forty teams, from Schenevus to Sidney, from Unadilla to Delhi, from many points in between and, of course, from Oneonta, compete in the league, which includes both boys' and girl's teams. The teams are sponsored by local businesses.

The young athletes are from third to sixth grade, and it's officially a teaching league. The ref is just as likely to call an athlete for a travel then spend a moment explaining exactly what that is.

Unofficially, it's highly competitive: the athletes play hard, the coaches coach hard, and the family members on the sidelines cheer hard. No official score is kept, but that doesn't stop the teams from trying their best to win.

The tournament begins in earnest in March, with each team working to advance to the championship round of the single elimination tournament.

After forty years it's not unusual for more than one generation of a family to have participated in the league. Truly, the Boys and Girls Club is an Oneonta institution. Here's to the next forty years of Pickett Basketball Madness!


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