Tyson Elliott blocks out his father and coach, Jerry, while warming up for a Saturday morning game.

Houston’s annual youth basketball league has expanded this season with younger players and a new facility.

The league, which is hosted by the Parks and Recreation Department, now includes pre-K players ages four and five through the sixth grade. Last year, the league had expanded to include kindergarten players for the first time.

With gym space for games and practices a premium, the two youngest age divisions — ages 4-6 and first-second grade — are playing this season in the vacant building that previously housed a cabinet-making business in Houston’s industrial park.

The building was cleaned by work crews from the South Central Correctional Center. Parks Director Jim Root then taped and painted court lines and boundaries on the concrete floor. There are three courts inside the open space, allowing multiple games or practices to occur simultaneously.

Nine teams play and practice inside the facility, which had sat vacant for a year. Family and friends sit in lawn chairs on the sidelines during weekend games.

There are 32 teams in this year’s league. Root said the Saturday games, which last from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., bring an average of 500 people into the community each weekend.

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