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Brawley camp teaches fundamentals to local girls

April 20, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — It was more than just a way to kill spring break. It was a place to learn the fundamentals.

In the spring break girls basketball camp hosted by the Brawley Union High School girls varsity basketball team, girls from around the Imperial Valley learned fundamentals and philosophies of basketball.

Girls of all sizes and ages attended the camp Monday through Thursday in the Wildcat gymnasium.

"We hold it to help promote girls basketball," said Brawley coach Mike Pacheco.

He added the camp began as a fund-raiser for the Brawley varsity team.

"It's really fun for the younger girls," Pacheco said. "They like to play with the varsity kids."

Pacheco said he likes the camp because it gives him an idea of the talent that will come Brawley High's way in the next few years.

"We get to look at what's coming next year and work on bad habits," Pacheco said.

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He said if those habits are caught soon enough, they can be fixed before the girls enter high school.

The camp allows girls to run basketball-related drills and teaches ball-handling, dribbling and shooting, among other fundamentals.

James Lofton, Brawley's junior varsity girls coach, thinks the camp is a great opportunity for girls, regardless of age.

He said his favorite part of the camp is teaching.

"That's what I always like," Lofton said.

Lofton, who has been involved with women's and girls basketball for 15 years, said the girls really seem to enjoy the camp.

"They're all on the same foot," Lofton said.

He said the girls have a lot of fun because the level of play is not an important factor in the camp.

"There are some good young players out there," Lofton said. "The earlier you get them in, the better."

He said the girls who attend the camp are better off simply because they learn the key fundamentals they wouldn't otherwise know.

He said even though the camp only lasts four days, there is a lot of improvement among the girls. He added the coaches and advisers use positive reinforcement to help participants.

"We keep pushing the positive and they do it," Lofton said. "We tell them that there is more to it than just playing and now they understand that."

He said girls of all age levels are encouraged to participate, but the girls who benefit the most are eighth-graders who will be entering high school next year.

Cami Correa, an 11-year-old participant , said she has a lot of fun playing basketball.

"I think the coaches are really nice," she said. "There are very friendly people here and I really love basketball."

She said among her favorite activities are shooting and dribbling and her favorite professional team is the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kelsey Kuhn, 8, agreed about the Lakers, adding her favorite player is Shaquille O'Neil.

She said being with her friends is one of her favorite parts of the camp.

Bari Smith, a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Brawley, said she likes the help she gets from the camp.

"I like that they can help you with the things that you need help with," she said.

"Coach Lofton helped me a lot with free throws," she added. "I like basketball because there is always something you can try to improve on."

Bari plans to play basketball for Brawley's freshman team next season.

Brittany Thomas, 11, said she enjoys the competition the camp brings. She added in some events a prize is awarded to the winner.

"I've learned how to defend more," Thomas said. "They showed us how to do layups."

She said she likes the encouragement she receives from the coaches and advisers.

Marissa Seanez, also 11, said learning about basketball is fun.

"I learned that you need a lot of hand coordination and I learned that you have to shoot the basketball the right way. You can't just throw it up there," Seanez said.

Allison Miller, a 14-year-old Brawley High freshman, said she likes the camp because it gives her something to do during the spring break.

"I like being with friends," she said, adding she has improved her shooting thanks to the camp.

Allison said she hopes the camp will help her next year, when she plans to play for the Wildcats.

The Brawley girls varsity team will host another camp this summer.

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