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Hoops camp proves popular

April 04, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — Had Brawley Union High varsity basketball players Ebony Lofton and Brooke Pace decided to not partake in the team's second annual spring break girls basketball camp, they probably would not have been in much trouble with head coach Mike Pacheco.

Lofton tore her left knee's anterior cructiate ligament during this past basketball season and was scheduled to undergo surgery today and Pace is a senior who competed in her final high school basketball game about a month ago. Pace is also smack dab in the middle of the swimming season and already has her sights set on the postseason.

Both had legitimate excuses for not helping run the camp and could have skipped the camp all together. Yet they were both there lending words of wisdom and helping youngsters who were participating in the camp improve their basketball skills.

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"I missed it. It's been about a month since my last game and I just missed being out here on the court," said the 17-year-old Pace. "I feels good to come back out here. This has always been my favorite sport to play, so just coming here and helping out with these younger kids is fun. I know all of the older girls like to come back and help out because it is fun."

Pace and Lofton were approached by Pacheco to help with the camp, but the final decision was theirs. While the decision for Pace really wasn't a difficult one, it took Lofton a little time to decide to participate.

"He (Pacheco) had asked me about it and at first I was like, ‘Well, I don't know,'" said Lofton. "But then I thought about it and decided that I wanted to do this.

"I think it's fun to come out here and work with the little ones. For me, and I know everyone else on the team, I want to see these kids improving so they can follow in our footsteps and have good teams in the future," said Lofton.

For the Wildcats to continue their winning tradition, camps like the spring break camp and annual summer basketball camps are where it all begins. During the summer sessions, Pacheco said there are generally about 50 kids in attendance and for this spring session 35 kids have signed up.

While the camp age groups start with kindergartners, Pacheco also has the opportunity to see players who he could be coaching in the near future who are in junior high.

Pacheco, with the help of his current and former players, teaches youngsters fundamentals of the game, which are utilized in full-court scrimmages.

While there is only so much he can say and do, he said having his players as examples adds to what is learned during camps.

"I think it's very important for them to see the older players out here helping them because down the road, they may be in that same situation," said Pacheco. "Having Brooke out here … she's just real good with younger kids. And, along with being a good basketball player, she's also a real good student with over a 4.0 grade-point average. So I wanted her to come out and talk to them about playing basketball and doing good in school."

Said 14-year-old eighth- grader Peri Serino: "I think it's really good having the varsity players out here helping us because we see them during games, but we don't always get to see how they are during practice. So being here, learning from them is real important. With Brooke and Ebony being out here, I think they want to help us get better, so that the Brawley teams in the future will be as good as the past teams."

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