Players on the fifth-grade basketball team include Casen Brewington, Kiefer Woods, Braxton Hughes, Adan Lopez, Brody Ross, Boston Schenk, Carson Caldwell, Daniel Valdez, Jackson Burtschi and Brennen Owens. Also in the photo are Jared Cook and Ryjeil Cook.

When A.D. Burtschi retired, he felt the need to give back to the community.

With support from the community, the former high school coach was able to start a program in Chickasha to help Chickasha’s youth learn lessons on the basketball court.

“I felt as though it was an opportunity to give back to the community, particularly with youth basketball,” Burtschi said. “If we could address and help with the younger players … that could do nothing but help.

“I'm invested in giving back with basketball.”

According to Burtschi, there needed to be a starting point for the program. He eventually made the decision to start the program with a fifth-grade basketball team, and the support from there helped the program begin to thrive in its first year.

While playing under Chickasha’s name and getting support from those involved with Chickasha basketball, the team was its own entity and had to raise its own funds, according to Burtschi. That’s one way the support for the program helped.

“We raised every penny for everything we did,” Burtschi said. “We had people step up and make donations.”

Burtschi also talked about the support he got from his family, calling the program a family affair.” He also mentioned the importance of getting the support from the parents to help the program thrive.

“We’ve had a great group of parents,” Burtschi said.

The program itself is about teaching the youth the different aspects of the game.

“Our whole premise was that we wanted to work with our kids so that they would learn to play hard, play smart and play together,” Burtschi said. “We are to here help our youth and demonstrate our willingness to volunteer and to teach them.”

With the support from the community and improvement of the team throughout the season, Burtschi believes the first year of the program was a success.

“Based on what we were able to accomplish, I was very pleased with this group,” he said. “Our seeds that we’ve planted are taking root.”

Burtschi believes that a program like this can be beneficial for everyone, including the school district. He also mentioned that it’s not about telling other coaches about how to coach or run their practices. It is mainly about introducing the youth to the game and how to play.

 “We’re trying educate them about basketball … and at the same time let it be a benefit to the school programs, as well as the community,” he said.

Burtschi believes it is important to keep the program going for the foreseeable future.

This Week's Circulars