VERSAILLES – The Versailles girls basketball team had 170 girls in the first through ninth grades attend its four-day youth girls basketball camp this week.
In addition to Versailles campers, the camp had girls from numerous area schools including Fort Loramie, Fort Recovery, Marion Local, Minster, New Bremen, Russia and St. Henry.
“I think it’s awesome,” Versailles varsity girls basketball coach Jacki Stonebraker said. “If anything they’re making new friends and meeting people they wouldn’t regularly meet at any other camps. I really enjoy seeing the blue and gold in here and the different colors of the girls wearing their school colors.”
To help guide 170 young girls, Stonebraker has relied on the help of her high school players. On any given day approximately 20 to 25 Lady Tiger high school athletes helped lead the camp.
“The high school kids that work for us are doing an excellent job, especially with these younger kids,” Stonebraker said.
The camp was split into two groups with first through fifth graders participating for three hours each morning and sixth through ninth graders participating for three hours each afternoon.
With the younger girls a lot of emphasis is placed on basic concepts such as passing and dribbling and teaching them not to travel so often, Stonebraker said. With the older girls instruction includes more advanced concepts such as footwork and learning to play team defense.
Even though the campers are learning a lot during the week, the real progress Stonebraker sees is girls improving since last year’s camp.
“You have campers come every year, and you can see how they’re growing, and they’re getting bigger, and they’re getting stronger, and they’re understanding the game a lot more,” she said. “There’s quite a few girls I can say you have improved so much since last year.”
While the girls are learning a lot about skills, concepts and terminology, Stonebraker also wants to make sure the camp is fun, and they learn to love the game of basketball.
“Just trying to make the camp light and fun,” she said. “Not just drilling them all the time but also having fun and playing games.”
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.