The DPR Girls Summer Basketball League become the most popular summer league for school-aged girls in the District. (Photo by Demetrius Dillard)

The Washington Mystics, Greater Washington Sports Alliance, and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) formed a girls summer basketball league in 2007. The DPR Girls Summer Basketball League has gone on to become the most popular summer league for school-aged girls residing in the District, according to a league coordinator.

The league brings attention to girls’ excellence in basketball, in a male-dominated sports world, and has grown tremendously since its inaugural season. It started with 140 girls and three age groups and has grown to roughly 750 girls and four age groups – featuring competitors from D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland.

“The objective of the DPR Girls Summer League is to have a quality program for young ladies ages 8-18 to learn the rules and regulations , sportsmanship and enjoy the game and competition against other young ladies from around the region,” said Toby Strong, basketball coordinator for DPR Sports Health and Fitness.

The DPR Girls Summer Basketball League starts in June and ends mid-August with the championship games at the Verizon Center in Northwest D.C.

For their fifth game the Lady Clerks defeated the Lady Riders 28-17 on July 21st  at Fort Stanton Recreation Center in Southeast. “I think we did a great job today. We put in some new offensive and defensive sets and they ran it pretty well,” said Wynn. “My girls are pretty much beginners – just picking up the basketball or maybe one or two years into the game – so we have a lot to learn, but they’re really showing great improvement over this summer.”

Kayla Sims, Lady Clerks’ starting point guard, led the team with 17 points to go along with some key assists and defensive plays down the stretch. Sims, who will be a senior in the Fall at Cardozo, is a returning player from last summer and continues to improve, according to Wynn.

“As you saw tonight, she really was on fire. She really broke down the defense and actually got some great shots up from the three point line as well,” said Wynn.

Wynn said the league is a great alternative to AAU because it’s affordable and still offers legitimate competition. She said that the cost of her team and the coaches to participate in the league was only about $150, which is remarkably cheaper than AAU. The Potomac Valley AAU site – D.C.’s district – showed the team entry fee for the 2015 District Qualifying Tournament at $350.

“I know growing up, there always was an issue with me because AAU was always so expensive. And D.C. Parks and Rec always offered me an opportunity to play during the summer, so I’m glad that I’m able to get my girls out here and also be able to share that with them over the summer.”