Adult Basketball league raises funds for youth programs

Lincoln Rail Splitters Basketball Player Jason Mercer (yellow, #5) shoots the ball from the free throw line. Last Thursday, during the Hyde Park Legends Championship game against the Harlem Buckets at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. -Frank Lin

Contributing Writer

The Lincoln Rail Splitters, an adult basketball team, won HPNC Legends Adult Basketball League’s championship game 45-43 against the Harlem Buckets last Thursday at Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

“They were the last team to make the playoffs and they won the whole thing,” said Frank Lin, athletics manager at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood, Ave.

The adult basketball program was organized by Lin’s predecessor as a way to help fund the club’s youth program.

“We’ve really revamped it and made it bigger,” said Vashti Emigh, associate director of marketing and development. “This is a the biggest it’s been.”

The league started last winter with five teams, there were 10 teams in the summer league. The teams, which consisted of 10 players each, played in a 12-week season. There were nine regular games and three playoff games.

“A lot of people played here as children,” Lin said “So, we’re bringing them back to the community.”

The $1,000 collected from the league games will go toward the youth athletics programs.

“A lot of our youth programs are at no cost or suggested donation,” Lin said.

He added that the money would help bring more programs and more young people to the club.

To keep the players engaged at the club, Lin said there will be open gym opportunities.

“The guys who played, we want them to come back and play,” he said “The more people who come, the better.”

George Ploss, captain of the Lincoln Rail Splitters, said he felt good about the team’s win.

“We had one of the world records in the entire league,” said Ploss, who went to University of Chicago Lab School and now lives in Chatham.

He said he wanted to be a team captain because “I wanted to play with my high school friends [again].”