Young Lions take to the court

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LIONS are benefiting from having their own permanent home court venue in Milton Keynes, and now the city’s youngsters are too as the British Basketball League outfit open their doors to the city’s schools.

When Lions aren’t busy taking on the best teams in the country, the club’s professional players have been putting groups of kids through their paces at the Lions Arena in Winterhill.

Oxley Park Academy and Slated Row schools recently spent time on court with the likes of Carl Josey, Cameron Bernard and Nathan Schall who taught the youngsters ball handling and shooting skills on the very same floor that Lions’ seniors play their BBL Championship games.

The excited pupils were then treated to pizza after their endeavours, courtesy of Frankie and Bennies, and were also presented with a signed basketball from the players.

Oxley Park Year 6 teacher Bob Corneil said: “Our pupils had an amazing time, they learnt some valuable skills of basketball and thoroughly enjoyed the question and answer session with the players.

“Students now can’t wait to book up a school visit to watch a home game.”

Schools development manager at Lions, Debbie Sidwell, co-ordinated the visit and said more open days are planned for after with the half term break in November, with Long Meadow, Summerfield and Orchard schools all visiting.

And Lions chief executive Vince Macaulay said he hopes the open days will help the club to attract the next generation of fans in the city.

“Kids love basketball in Milton Keynes and it’s good to see them have so much fun on our court. We try to include schools that don’t have their own basketball facilities and it’s been a great success,” he said.

It was only a year ago that Lions were without a home after being forced to leave their temporary venue at thecentre:mk. And the club continues to prosper, with BBL honours now a realistic possibility this season.

Schools interested in attending a free session can contact Lions on 0843 309 3600.