Pete Petersen Basketball League celebrates 40 years of their Girls Division

A poster gifted to the family of Joanie Besselink and to Mary O’Neill, showing the impact they had on the lives of players in the program over the years. Image via Pete Peterson Basketball League.

The Pete Peterson Basketball League has been a feature of the Kingston sports scene for 68 years. Last night, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, the league held a special ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Girls Division.

In 1982, the Girls Division was formed, thanks to two students at St. Patrick’s School, Joanie Besselink and Mary O’Neill, who “were instrumental in getting that part of our program started,” the League said in a media release.

Their significant contribution was recognized at the ceremony with a special patch of the uniforms of all players in the Girls Division. “Sadly Joanie passed away earlier this year, but she was well represented at the presentation last night by her husband Rick, her son Ben and her siblings, Mary Jane and John,” the League shared. “Mary and her husband were also on hand, with Mary tossing the ball to start the season.”

Mary O’Neill, tossing the ball to start the new season. Photo via the Pete Peterson Basketball League.

“One of the things that we as an organization wanted the families of our league to know, is that Joannie and Mary have had a profound impact on the lives of thousands of girls in our community in the 40 years since they so convincingly made their case to Pete Petersen to start a Girls Division,” the League stated. “We are proud that they and their extended families have stayed in touch with us, and been key contributors to the league since 1982. We are truly proud to call them part of our basketball family.”

Visit the Pete Petersen Basketball League website for more information and league updates.

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