NEW MADISON — Successful varsity seasons recently have helped build excitement about basketball in Tri-Village, as evidenced by 85 kids attending the Patriots’ youth boys basketball camp this week.
The Tri-Village high school boys basketball team has hosted 85 campers in the third through eighth grades this week. The number of campers is up from the average of about 70, Tri-Village varsity boys basketball coach Josh Sagester said, and probably is a record for the camp, which is in its 12th year.
“It’s been a good year for Tri-Village basketball,” Sagester said. “We put a lot of time here in basketball. I think that many campers is another indication that we have players of all ages interested and excited about the game of basketball.”
The camp began Tuesday and will continue through Friday with two-and-a-half hours of camp each day. The Patriot boys basketball coaches along with 18 high school players and former all-state players Kyle Pipenger and Tyler Cook have led the youth players.
The camp begins each day with an hour of drills that teach the youth fundamentals of the game including passing, dribbling and shooting.
“We’re working hard on the fundamentals, especially the passing, dribbling and shooting, making sure all our younger kids have proper form so they’re not getting any bad habits,” Sagester said.
Following those stations, the players compete in various contests such as free throw shooting, spot shooting, Mikan drills and league play five-on-five games.
The kids are working hard in their time in the Tri-Village gym, Sagester said, although the coaches also have emphasized that they need to spend time at home continuing to work on their skills.
“That’s how players are made,” Sagester said. “We didn’t win that many games here at Tri-Village just by showing up. It’s been a lot of time. What they put in, they get out.”
The Tri-Village basketball program has had some of its best seasons in school history recently. In 2012-13, the Patriots finished the regular season undefeated and were ranked No. 1 in the state by The Associated Press. In 2013-14, they made the state final four for just the second time in school history.
That success has helped build interest among the younger kids, Sagester said,
“It’s nice to have camp and have that many kids want to take part in what you’re doing,” he said.
The camp also builds a rapport between the youth and the high school players, Sagester said, and helps make the high school players better leaders as they teach the game of basketball.
“It kind of gives them my perspective, I tell them,” Sagester said. “The kids embrace it. It’s a good thing all the way through.”