VERSAILLES – Versailles had 185 girls from 16 schools attend its youth girls basketball camp this week.
Campers came from schools in Darke, Auglaize, Mercer, Miami and Shelby counties to learn from the Versailles High School coaches and players.
“They did well,” Versailles girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “They listened; that was the main thing that I could get out of this whole week is all eyes were on the coaches and the coaching staff, and they were always listening and retaining things. At the end of each camp they always learned something. They always remembered something we said.”
The four-day camp was split into two sessions that both lasted three hours each day. The morning session included girls ranging from age 6 to those entering the fifth grade while the afternoon session included girls entering the sixth through ninth grades.
Every day the girls got better, Stonebraker said, but more important was making sure they had fun.
“I hope they had fun; that’s the main goal, to have fun,” she said. “I hope they picked up a couple dribbling ideas and being able to dribble the basketball because you see a lot of traveling at the younger ages, but if we can just keep honing in on you’ve got to put the ball on the floor, you’ve got to dribble, you can’t travel that’s the biggest thing.”
The camp wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of Versailles’ high school players, Stonebraker said.
“They do such an incredible job,” she said. “I couldn’t run this camp without the help of them and my coaching staff … what they do behind the scenes, what they do with these girls every single day. And you hear them say things that they’ve heard us say at the varsity level or JV level so it’s nice that they’re listening to us as well. And they become leaders by doing this.”
Versailles, which finished as the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III state runner-up this past season, has created a culture that kids want to be part of, which draws girls from so many schools to the Tigers’ camp, Stonebraker said. And that culture begins with the high school athletes.
“It’s just culture,” Stonebraker said. “It’s just wanting to be here. And like I said, if the high school girls didn’t want to be here then the younger girls aren’t going to want to be here. And because these high school girls are doing such a good job with this camp year in and year out that’s the reason we get the good numbers.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.