Local basketball teams fine-tuning skills

Chris Slone

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Summer camps have become an annual ritual for high school basketball programs, who are allotted 10 days of offseason organized team activity by the OHSAA.

Shawnee State University and Portsmouth High School teamed up to host a three-day girls basketball camp, which eight area teams are hoping will benefit them when fall weather approaches.

Wheelersburg, South Webster, Clay, Waverly, New Boston, Minford, Northwest and Portsmouth began playing scrimmage contests Monday morning and will conclude Wednesday afternoon. Each team will play 15 games over the three days, with each game consisting of two 11-minute halves with a two-minute intermission.

Although each squad doesn’t have its full compliment of players, Wheelersburg head coach Dusty Spradlin sees the advantage of participating in the camp.

“I think it’s huge,” Spradlin said. “We would love it if we had our whole team right now. But in reality, we had softball that just finished up and we have kids with vacations, but we love this time because it gives us a chance with some of our younger kids. It gives us a chance to see where we are individually and kind of see where some of our pieces might fit together.”

Spradlin calls this experience a true evaluation period.

“Every coach that comes down here is going to be more about learning their team and learning how everyone kind of fits together,” Spradlin said.

Looking at the bigger picture, Spradlin knows this camp will go a long way once basketball season arrives.

“It’ll be interesting for every coach down here, once they get their whole team, then they can starting working on rotations and all of that stuff but for now, it gives you a head start on knowing some of your young kids,” Spradlin said. “It’s really important for all of the coaches to get to places like this with great facilities and to get to know your kids because these teams change from year to year.”

Clay head coach Scott Cayton, who is entering his second season with the Panthers, has just one goal in mind.

“Just play,” Cayton said. “We don’t have any offensive sets in. We’re just playing straight man-to-man. I just want them to play and get the experience.”

Experience is the key motivator for Cayton during the camp.

“It’s huge for us because we’re down here with a junior, two sophomores and eight freshman,” Cayton said. “So, just to get the varsity experience, and to see the speed and athleticism and physicality of the game is invaluable to us.”

Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.

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