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The games go on at Hillsborough St. 'Y'

Lunchtime pickup basketball returns after refurbishing of facilities

Staff WriterSeptember 10, 2007 

— Thunk, thunk, squeak. Swish.

Shirts score.

Thunk. Squeak. Clang. Squeak. Swish.

Skins take it back.

And so the age-old battle -- Shirts vs. Skins -- wages on during every lunch hour, every weekday at the Central YMCA on Hillsborough Street.

The pickup basketball games, attended mainly by men but open to women, have gone on for years at the YMCA. But the Hillsborough Street location, which reopened this month after a massive overhaul, is trying to bring back some of the players who drifted off to other courts during the construction of the new facilities.

The lunchtime players dribbled back and forth Friday from noon to 2 p.m. on a gleaming wooden floor.

"It's nice, a lot better than the old one," said Don Martin, 59, an engineer who was at the gym Friday during his lunch break.

Martin stood with Brandon Locklear, 30, as the two caught their breath on the sidelines between games. Martin has been playing here for 15 years, Locklear for eight or nine.

David Fenwick first began showing up for the pickup games in 1992. He was a student at Shaw University and worked nearby at the Velvet Cloak Inn.

Now, he heads to downtown Raleigh from his job as a computer engineer in Morrisville to get in his workout.

"You always know you could come here and play real pickup," Fenwick said as he sat on the bench fastening a knee brace to get ready for the next game of five-on-five.

"I can get my workout and still come home to the wife," Fenwick said before jogging onto the court.

Game on.

Staff writer Sarah Ovaska can be reached at 829-4622 or

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