Fifth- and sixth-grade basketball players competed in the Steamboat's first-ever tournament collaboration for the age group by the High Altitude club program and the city's recreational league.

Devin Borvansky/courtesy

Fifth- and sixth-grade basketball players competed in the Steamboat's first-ever tournament collaboration for the age group by the High Altitude club program and the city's recreational league.

Steamboat AAU, rec program partner for inaugural tournament

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— During the weekend, High Altitude club basketball — in conjunction with Steamboat’s recreation development league — put on its first fifth- and sixth-grade home tournament at Steamboat Springs High School.

High Altitude, a volunteer-run nonprofit, also is looking for another first: introducing girls club basketball to compete during the same tournament season as its current boys program. The boys High Altitude AAU program is in its second year in Steamboat.

High Altitude CEO Devin Borvansky said the inaugural tournament marked the end of the rec year for the age group. The older age group club team still is playing, with two tournaments under its belt already this season and more to come through May.

“The city ran logistics and High Altitude ran operations,” Borvansky said about the weekend tournament. “This year, we thought it would be a great program to have a rec league and a fifth- and sixth-grade tournament to mark the end of the season.”

Borvansky said the club program and recreational league were able to explore ideas with the tournament, bringing in a practice coordinator for training lessons. Throughout the season, third- and fourth-grade players also competed in Friday Night Lights games, with elementary-level players getting weekend game time experience on 9-foot hoops.

“Everyone had a smile on their face,” Borvansky said. “The community hasn’t seen this with basketball, so everyone was really excited.”

It’s still in the works, but Borvansky said girls AAU-level hoops could be offered as soon as the back half of this season. The program as a whole is “still scratching the surface,” he added.

Borvansky said that once things like gym access and coaching are made available, the goal is to at least have girls on the court for next year’s full season schedule to participate in Front Range tournaments like the boys have done for two seasons now.

“There are plenty of girls who have come to us who said, ‘Hey, we want to play, but where’s the opportunity?’” Borvansky said. “We started the guys’ side, and now we’re really pursuing the girls’ side. We are really moving forward getting that girls program off the ground.”

As a nonprofit organization, High Altitude also holds necessary fundraisers. Borvansky said the next opportunity is its May 17 hot dog sale at Ace at the Curve, followed by the Summer Youth Fundamentals Camp on June 16 to 19 at the high school.

Borvansky said the fundamentals camp drew 72 players last year, and he’s aiming for about 120 this time.

“Everything comes back to these kids who want to get involved in basketball,” Borvansky said. “It’s a local-ran youth camp and a nonprofit.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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