By Tim Chambers
A trio of Lady Longhorns decided to go the “extra mile” and then some in order to improve their basketball skills. Freshmen Adrian Hall, Natalie Winters and eighth grader Sadie Stout recently spent the week at UNC in Chapel Hill taking part in the finishing camp and the individual camp.
It was the second consecutive season that the three made the trip, only this time the camp was much more intense.
“The first camp was the finishing moves camp where they taught you how to finish your shots,” said Hall. “We worked on up and under, spin moves, finishing in the post and a step back jump shot. We did that for three days and the intensity level was off the charts. I learned how to drive through and split the defense. They taught me a whole lot of things that I didn’t know.”
The trio finished that camp on Wednesday which led them into the individual camp. That was a whole different ball game according to Stout.
“They had four stations and we worked extremely hard at all of them,” said Stout. “We had stations for offense, defense, dribbling and shooting. They definitely put an emphasis of defense. We had to slide our feet almost anywhere we went. I heard the word defense all week long. We had to chop our feet over and over. It was a lot of fun but there sure was a ton of hard work involved too.”
Winters was one of two freshmen to make the varsity team over the summer. She took time at the camp to watch others and enjoyed competing against them.
“They wanted us to stay low to the ground in almost everything that we did,” said Winters. “I was watching some of UNC’s players and couldn’t believe the speed that was involved. You realize how much more you need to know and work on as a player. Meeting girls from different places and seeing how they play also helped us become better. It was cool watching them and then going out and playing against everyone. I got so many things to work on over the summer to get better. I’m anxious to get started.”
Stout will be heavily counted on to lead the middle school team. Her desire is to step up and become a good high school player.
“I’ve dreamed of being a good high school player on a good team, but we all have so much to work on,” added Stout. “I feel like defensively I’m a lot stronger after going through this week. Technique and getting in the proper position is something that all of us needed. I wish we could get started tomorrow. The camp pretty much lit a fire under me. I’m going to work hard over the summer.”
Hall showed her toughness throughout the camp despite suffering a freak injury. A light fixture fell on her head and she had to be taken to the hospital to have a deep cut stapled. That didn’t stop her from returning and going through all the camp drills.
“I’m a tough old bird and I wasn’t about to let an injury like this stop me,” laughed Hall. “I heard they hired us another coach up here, and I’m super excited about that. One of our early goals is to get out of the district and make some noise in the regional. We want to take girls basketball to another level before we leave here. We want to be the ones who play in the state tournament. I believe we’ve got the potential to do that if we work hard and have the right kind of coaching and leadership. That might sound crazy but that’s my goal.”
Hall won the hearts of the UNC coaches with her all out hustle and defense despite the injury. Stout and Winters won their knockout games and were selected as two of the outstanding campers.
“They gave us a couple of tee shirts for our award and that was pretty cool,” added Winters. “I am going to wear mine proudly because I earned it.”
The three were amazed at the size of the “Dean Dome” and had the opportunity to play a few games inside there. But Winters said that wasn’t the main highlight.
“We played nearly 8-9 hours every day,” said Winters. “We didn’t have a television or cable. We got on the internet some on our telephones, but we were so tired at night that it was only temporary. But the food they served was awesome. Nobody wanted to leave campus. They had everything here that we needed. I know the three of us ate well.”