LAURINBURG — The Lady Knights basketball team will close the book on its three summer camps this afternoon.
Head coach Yvette Sparks said turnout for the camps — fundamentals, college prep and team — was great and the campers were active and engaged.
“The camps have been fabulous,” said Sparks. “The best part of the first two camps were the campers that came applied themselves, they were ready to learn what we had to teach. They put it into practice in camp, everyone had a good attitude, played hard and a great group of kids to work with.”
The fundamentals camp was for young girls, fourth grade and up, and worked on basic skill development. The college prep camp was for high school aged girls and the team camp was for varsity, JV and middle school teams to come and play against teach other in 26-minute games.
Today and Friday were the team camps, which featured six area teams including South Robeson, Red Springs, Marlboro, two teams from Ragsdale and Lakeview. Sparks said they normally have local teams, Scotland, Pinecrest and Union Pines, but none of them had enough players for teams because people were on vacation or out of town.
The Lady Knights were more hands off with the team camp, officiating the games and pulling players aside to give individual advice when it was needed.
“My players can pull them aside in between games or give them a tip on a dead ball,” said Sparks. “If they see something that can better that young lady’s game definitely help them out.”
The St. Andrews players officiating the games got a taste of what referees have to go through. Just because it was a camp, didn’t lower any of the coaches intensity levels when it came to missed calls.
Courtney Rowe, senior guard for the Lady Knights, said officiating helps put into perspective what officials go through.
“It helps us learn the game a little more and know how some officials don’t call things,” she said. “They don’t want to make every call, they want us to play a little, so there’s a balance.”
Realizations like Rowe’s and an increased level of maturity are the biggest benefits Sparks sees from her players following the camps.
“For me as a coach, the greatest reward is seeing my players grow through this experience,” Sparks said. “They have to communicate with each other, work together and support each other. With the younger kids camps, we talked about being responsible for the campers. They took it very seriously, we made sure everyone was together when we went places as a group.”
Junior shooting guard Samantha Ring, a native of Carthage, said being a role model to younger players was her favorite part.
“Since we play college ball, we’re good role models. Whenever we give our input, I like watching them take into account what we say and watch their skills get better,” Ring said.
Rowe said she likes seeing the young talent in the community and helping make them better and watching them “use our advice out on the court.”
Rowe and Ring both agreed teaching the camp exposes some of the bad habits they’ve picked up and forces them to revert back to the proper way of doing things, so as not to pass those habits onto the next generation of Lady Knights.
“Sam might see something I do wrong and I can see something she did wrong and we help each other,” Rowe said. “It helps us see things on our court to help each other.”
Sparks other favorite part of the camp is encouraging young girls to pursue their love of basketball.
“I like seeing kids from the community come and have a great time at camp, improve their basketball camp,” she said.
The Lady Knights begin their 2018-19 season in November, a schedule has not been released. The team finished the 2017-18 season 10-18 overall and 7-17 in conference play.
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]