Twenty five years ago Kevin Cain and Mary Beth McNichol envisioned a girl’s summer league that would enable the young ladies of the area the opportunity to compete in the summer. Joe Keller and Joe Crawford lent a hand and the Billy Lake League was founded. The league flourished as the best players from the Philadelphia region signed up and played in what was a very competitive league. In most years the league was at capacity in a few days. Energetic and knowledgeable coaches were recruited. Drexel Hill Junior High was a fun place to be several nights a week in the summer.
The basketball landscape has changed. With the advent of AAU programs and the proliferation of team tournaments, it has become increasingly difficult to get players to commit to the league. The founders of the league as well as those who continued to run it took immense pride in the caliber and intensity of play. Dozens of girls who played in the league went on to play in college, many at the Division 1 level.
Sadly at this time it has taken considerable time and effort to fill teams. It is for that reason and the fact that Upper Darby can no longer provide a facility that the difficult decision has been made to close the League.
We assure you that this decision has been made with much deliberation. It has been a huge part of so many lives in the summer. Players who played in the league now bring their daughters to compete. Girls who played against each other in the winter were teammates in the summer. Friendships were made, many for a lifetime.
Of course, a venture such as this takes the effort of so many great people. Our current board who for many years has given so much time - Rose Cain, Sue Phelan, Dan Quinn and Mary Beth McNichol and many others who coached for years made this the best summer league in the region. I’m sure it will be missed. We hope that those mentioned here and everyone else had as much fun playing, coaching, refereeing, and watching as we did.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for so many great summer nights!