Christian basketball league players shoot for fellowship, stars

upward basketball cheerleading Central Baptist

Third- and fourth-graders in the Upward Basketball and Cheerleading league play a Saturday game of basketball at Central Baptist Church's Recreational Outreach Center.

MATTHEW BROWN / News Bulletin
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 07:02 PM.

CRESTVIEW —  Typically in basketball, the team tries to shoot enough baskets to score the most points.

Officials at two churches do things a little differently.

Central Baptist and Live Oak Baptist Churches' Upward Basketball and Cheerleading league, for kindergartners through sixth-graders, offers stars, and points, on the court.

"They have different stars (attached to their uniforms): one is (for) offense, one is defense," said Coach Andrew Slentz, who works with "The Jazz," a group of third- and fourth-grade boys and girls. "Then they have a white (star), which is for Christ-like."

That star is the biggest difference, Live Oak Pastor Jerry Nelson  said.

"The unique thing about this league is that we get to spread the word of God," he said. "It's an opportunity to get out and have fun playing basketball and, more importantly, teach some scripture."

That happens during half-time. Nelson delivered a brief, inspirational message during a recent Saturday game.

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