Early Years of Youth Basketball In Portage

Submitted by: Bob Miller

Cost was $3.00 for first boy, $1.50 for additional boys

VM - October 21, 1969

1969/70 Kipper Team

Portage HS sports fans may recognize names of Mark Evans and Mary Devyak; starting quarterback and middle linebacker on PHS’ only state football championship (1977)

1969/70 season.

Fegley gym

1969/70 Cheerleaders

1969/70 Cheerleaders

During the 1970/1 season PYB players would play before the Fabulous Magicians

VM - October 15, 1970

Sammie Maletta was now league president and costs had increased to $5/$3

VM - October 14, 1971


In background you can see a Junior League game (9/10 year old) warming up, playing cross court at Aylesworth Junior High.

Sam Radivan was a long time coach in youth basketball.

Starting in Biddy Basketball and then PYB

1972/3 Maletta team

Senior League Regular Season and Tourney Champs.
Portage residents will also recall Sammie Maletta as Portage’s Mayor.

1972/3 Senior League All Stars

Portage Press February 22, 1973

1972/3 Junior League Tourney Champs

1972/3 Junior League White Division All Stars

1972/3 Stout Team

As the caption says Chuck was the first former player to come back and coach.  He is shown earlier on the championship Seebauer team during the 1962/3 season.

1972/3 Cheerleaders

1973/4 season

Costs had increased
VM - September 1973

During the 80s, Portage YMCA began sponsoring an alternative league with several divisions, though smaller in number than PYB.  Interestingly, the YMCA league was started by 1st/2nd year player Bruce Lindner and one of the coaches in the league was Jim Samuel.  The clipping below is from 1994.  A review of press articles in 1996 reveals that in 1996 PYB had 75 teams (recall 10 in the first season).  The league had 43 boys teams (Senior, Junior and Iddy Biddy: 4-6 year olds), 22 girls teams (same divisions) and a rookie instructional league.  The YMCA had 3 divisions (by age) with 4 teams in each division.  87 teams playing youth basketball in 1996.  One of the League Presidents in the 90s was Chuck Shields who played Biddy Basketball in the 60s and was on the 1965/6 All Star team that competed in the state tournament in Portage.  Chuck was also a member of the PHS varsity teams that won sectionals in 1971 and 72.

Times January 9, 1994

Girls All-star tournament

Times February 14, 1996