Basketball season is here and non-school players are looking for a place to play. The Lakeshore Premier Basketball League (LPBL) is the best place to look. It is a great way to have fun, meet new people, and get buckets. LPBL is an intermediate league that starts in January, located in West Michigan, consisting of 8 teams: Anchor, Allendale, Watermark, Boys and Girls Club North, Boys and Girls Club South, Dunes, Barnabas, and JJI.
As a former Dunes player myself, I can assure you the season will be fun and exciting in the LPBL. I remember our first game against Anchor. I played against an old friend who I used to play with all the time. We saw each other and shook-up before the game started. My coach didn’t have much trust in me yet, so I was benched the entire first half.
About 2 minutes into the 3rd quarter, I finally got called in. I was excited about my first minutes of the season and instantly got on man defense against my old friend. I play the guard position, so each time down the court I would position myself on the left wing to start. The ball came to me and I was trigger happy. I let it fly and it was nothing but a splash of the net. I felt my momentum and confidence boost instantly.
I went back to defense where we were able to get a stop. Next possession, I lined up on the left wing again. The ball swings right, then to the corner, skip pass over to me where I’m wide open. I gather the ball as I let it flow from my lower chest up until I’m pointing in the air with a gooseneck. Splash. I hear my teammates cheering for me as I closed us in from a 15 point deficit to a 9 point deficit.
Next defensive possession was a pull-up jumper that fell short as we grabbed the rebound. I sprinted back to my sweet spot on a fast break with my friend on my hip. I caught the ball and instantly released with a flick of the wrist as a hand was practically high-fiving my face. All net. Anchor called a time-out as I ran over to the team huddle; all my teammates were hyping me up for my shooting performance. It was a moment I’ll never forget. From that point on, I was given the nickname “green light” meaning that I always had the okay from the team to shoot the ball when I felt the need.
Sr. Drake Fogerty, who played for Anchor last year, said that he prefers to play for Anchor rather than varsity. “It’s not as serious. It’s more fun to just be playing with your friends. Personally, I would get way more playing time on Anchor than I would on Varsity.”
Playing time for some people is hard to come by, but in this league, your chances of getting in and playing valuable minutes will be more attainable. “It’s kind of chill. We get work done such as going over plays and stuff like that. It’s just something more you do for fun. We start practice off with ball handling then a little running after that. That’ll take around 20-25 minutes, right around there. Next, we either go over some new plays or some old ones. We work on our free throws a lot, along with shooting drills. At the end, there’s usually a little bit of running, too.”
There are also times where the Anchor team will go out to eat, or hang out somewhere. It’s not planned dates like varsity, but rather just on the spot, or whenever works best for everyone. As Fogerty explained, there are often times when the team goes and bonds together over meals or other things just for the sake of doing something and being around good people. The LPBL is a league that ultimately is a little less intense/competitive, but just as much fun as school ball.
Shervin Keels, who played for Barnabas last year, explains what it’s like to play for the team. “An advantage of playing for Barnabas is that it is a smaller team, which means you receive a lot more one-on-one time, along with getting to know your teammates at a personal level. Not having many players also meant that everyone got a good amount of playing time… We only practice 3 times a week plus game days, sadly, but they’re in the mix of getting a new gym which means more practices.” Barnabas is one of the more serious teams. While they do have their fun just as every other team when it becomes practice time everyone is focused on getting better as a unit. Helping one another throughout the season to be the best they can be. It’s tough practices that you’re able to enjoy while being around good people.
Playing for a high school team can be difficult for some. Every day you will practice and have occasional scrimmages. This can interfere with job scheduling and other outside of school activities. Playing school ball takes dedication to showing up to every practice without much leniency. Not being able to make it to practices can also result in losing game minutes and taking the back seat to another player. In LPBL this is not necessarily the case as the coaches are much more understanding and give the freedom to maintain your work schedule while also being able to play the game of basketball without restricted minutes due to lack of attendance in practice.
The LPBL is a place that all players can try out and have a good shot at making the team. Being able to carpool with friends to games and getting each other hype is a feeling that will stick with you for a lifetime. You become closer to each and every teammate throughout the season. Even with your coach, you are able to form a strong one-on-one relationship to help improve your skills. Also, you’re playing organized basketball, which makes it all worth it.
Listed below are a few tryout dates, along with contact information for each team.
Last year regular season champions
Address: 1627 W Lakewood Blvd, Holland, MI 49424
Phone: (616) 399-9190
First day of tryouts: January 4
Address: 7161 Pleasant View Ct, Allendale, MI 49401
Phone: (616) 892-5595
Address: #200, 9479 Riley St, Zeeland, MI 49464
Phone: (616) 748-8435
Boys and Girls Club North
Address: 583 Riley St, Holland, MI 49424
Phone: (616) 786-9011
Boys and Girls Club South
Address: 435 Van Raalte Ave, Holland, MI 49423
Phone: (616) 392-4102
First day of tryouts: January 8th
Address: 3600 152nd Ave, Holland, MI 49424
Phone: (616) 786-1100
Address: 13060 US-31, Grand Haven, MI 49417
Phone: (616) 844-7640