Thursday, July 6, 2006
Summer league boosts competition, friendships
By BARRY BURLESON
The summer basketball league wrapped up last week, and coaches can do nothing but sing its praises.
It matches area teams from both public and private schools.
“It’s great,” said Craig Dailey of Marshall Academy. “It’s excellent competition for us. We don’t see this pace of game, particularly in boys.
“It helps us develop, going against the different defenses, things we might not see in our league.”
Kevin Harris, head coach of the Potts Camp Lady Cardinals, played a lead role in initiating the girls’ league five years ago. Five schools participated that first time around. It has grown to 15.
“Coach (Jason) Thompson (from H.W. Byers) and I were talking Thursday night about the growth of the league and its many successes,” Harris said.
“The work ethic of everyone has gotten better. It’s so good at so many different levels for so many different kids.
“It’s one of the better summer leagues around. We have a lot of teams with different styles. We see about every style of offense and defense. We get to see it all and see what we need to work on going into next year.”
Aside from the play on the court, it also leads to friendships off the court.
“I can see a difference in how the kids treat each other, and that’s a real positive thing,” Harris said. “They get to know each other over the summer. They’ve made friends and that hasn’t hurt the competition. From a sportsmanship aspect, it’s nice to see.
“I haven’t see a cross word between players. That’s a credit to the coaches and the players.
“I’m proud to be a part of the summer league, and I’ve got some good folks in it with me.”
Dailey hopes the summer league plays a part in private schools being able to compete against public ones in the regular season.
“This league gives kids an opportunity to meet people from other schools,” Dailey said. “The kids play against each other all summer and get along all summer. It’s doesn’t make since for us not to open it up (in the regular season).
“Kids are kids, whatever school they go to. We want to play the best, wherever they are.
“This year’s summer league has been a lot of fun.. It’s a neat thing.”
Harris said coaches are already talking about next summer.
“We’re discussing how to make it better,” he said.
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