BRAWLEY — When Suzy Roman took over the Brawley Police Activities League's Shooting Sparks girls basketball league, she didn't want it to be just another basketball league.
What the 33-year-old Roman had in mind was a league that at-risk girls ranging from 7 to 15 years old could call their own.
Whereas other local basketball leagues are coed and mostly dominated by boys, the Sparks league is strictly for girls.
"I think this is a really important league for these girls. I would say that about 50 percent of them wouldn't join a regular basketball league because they'd be afraid to play with and against boys," said Roman, the league organizer for three years. "But this league isn't just about basketball. There's a whole other level behind it.
"We give these girls who are at-risk a place to go and give them a chance to do something," Roman said. "We also stress the importance of staying in school and try to motivate and encourage these girls to go out for high school basketball. So it really is more than basketball. I think what we have here is a small community in itself."