Ocean Springs Christian Basketball League Experiencing Remarkable Growth

Upward Basketball is not new.

"This is my 8th year to direct this program," says Emmanuel Baptist Church youth minister Alan Broome.

And neither is the Upward message.

"It's a Christian sports ministry that helps to point the children, by using basketball, helps to point them to Christ and how much God loves them," says Broome.

What is new this year is the number of kindergarten through eighth grade boys and girls participating.

"I have about 370 children that are involved. There's about 85 adult coaches," Broome added.

And that growth is due in part to Hurricane Ivan.

The storm damaged the Taconi School gym, causing the cancellation of Ocean Springs city youth basketball league.

"We had about 110 that had pre registered before the hurricane, and then after that we got a windfall of another 250 children that came and signed up," says Broome. "We've got about 85 cheerleaders that are in our cheerleading program."

Newcomer and now part time coach Sean Rafferty says Upward Basketball is the perfect place for his kids to learn the game, lessons of sportsmanship, and more.

"We can build up that winners heart and not have them wanting to crush or destroy the other person in the process, that's the perfect mix," says Broome.

A mix and a message Sean and others consider more important than a buzzer beating shot that's nothing but net.