ARCANUM — A record number of girls attended the Arcanum girls basketball team’s youth camp, which saw a 50 percent increase in participation in just one year.
The Lady Trojans’ youth camp, which ran for two-and-a-half hours a day from Monday through Thursday this week, attracted 75 girls in the second through eighth grades. That’s up for the approximately 50 girls who attended the camp last year.
The record amount of interest from the youth combined with the Lady Trojans’ runner up finish in the Cross County Conference this past season has coach Rachel Fearon excited about the future of Arcanum girls basketball.
“It’s going to be exciting to see where we go,” she said.
Along with 14 high school players, the Arcanum girls basketball team’s coaching staff led the youth campers in drills that taught them skills such as basic ball handling, dribbling, shooting, passing, defense and sportsmanship.
“It went really good,” Fearon said. “The kids, they seemed to learn a lot. They went home and practiced, I think, through the week, and they came back and did things today that they couldn’t do on Monday.”
The campers made a lot of progress in the four days of camp, as evidenced by three second and third grade girls learning the spider ball handling drill in which they dribble in front of themselves and behind themselves in one fluid motion.
“They see somebody do that on Monday and they think, oh my gosh, I can’t do that,” Fearon said. “We had three second and third graders come back today and could do that on Thursday. So that was really good at that age.”
In addition to the drills, the girls also participated in games and contests including dribble knockout, hot shot shooting and free throw shooting to test their skills in a fun environment.
“I just want them to learn that basketball is fun,” Fearon said. “If they learn that it’s fun to play basketball, they’re going to want to continue coming back to the gym and having a basketball in their hand. At this age, that’s the most important thing.”
The camp also is a learning experience for the high school players as the incoming freshman class gets integrated with their high school teammates and all the players help the youth.
“This was a great leadoff activity for my high school girls,” Fearon said. “I told them, it’s one thing to be able to play and do the skills, but if you can turn around and teach it, that’s even going to make you a better ballplayer. And just to have that skill of leadership, that means a lot for us being a young squad.”