Local News: Hooping it up: Camp helps girls hone their basketball skills (7/13/22)

At the end of the Lady Eagles Youth Basketball Camp, several special prizes were announced and attendees posed for one last photo.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

NEW MADRID, Mo. — The little girl stared at the hoop high above her head. Aiming carefully, she used both hands to hoist the ball into the air. He wobbled very briefly on the edge and fell through the net.

The smile on the young player’s face was as wide, as wide as a basketball.

That joy in the game was exactly what New Madrid County Central High School’s new basketball coach was aiming for by sponsoring a basketball camp for girls in grades one through six this summer. And while the camp was designed to be fun, Woods and assistant coach Victoria Duenne also focused on teaching basic player skills and the fundamentals of the game.

Youth attending the Lady Eagles Youth Basketball Camp learned basic skills during the three-day camp, including how to bounce the basketball.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

“We want to show them that hard work can still be fun,” Woods said. “We want to involve young children and get them excited about playing basketball.”

Joseph McClarty said his daughters Audrey and Addison enjoyed the three-day camp.

“They said they learned a lot,” he said from his spot in the stands as he watched camp end with a showcase for parents. “They enjoyed the interaction with the coaches and it kind of sparked a fire in them to keep playing basketball.”

Competing in a dribble relay, teams had to dribble their basketball down the court, around the cone, and then pass the ball to the next team member.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

According to McClarty, it was also a way to get to know the new coach and to support the New Madrid County Central Booster Club and the New Madrid County R-1 School District.

“I know Coach Woods works hard,” he said. “We are delighted to have him and we are happy that the coaches took the time to work with our children.”

Nearby, Lisa Dawson watched her granddaughter, Hope Dawson, work on her set. Basketball is one of Hope’s favorite sports, Dawson said.

A showcase on the last day of a basketball camp for girls in grades one through six allowed families to see the skills the girls had mastered. Among the exercises performed was one demonstrating their lateral agility.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

“She loved being here with the other girls and she loves basketball,” Dawson said, adding with a laugh that after every day at camp, Hope came home tired.

There was a lot of laughter among the girls as they demonstrated their attacking and defensive skills. There was a lot of competition and they dribbled a basketball while trying to smash another player’s ball out of bounds or running down the court.

For 11-year-old Audrey McClarty, it was all fun. Smiling widely, she noted that she had learned the proper way to shoot a layup.

Girls attending Lady Eagles Youth Basketball Camp lean in for a final cheer with coaches Dana Woods and Victoria Duenne at the end of camp.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

Isabella Swafford, 10, said she loves sports and plays basketball and wrestling. She said she plans to return to camp next year and will further urge her friends to attend.

“I’ll tell them it’s really fun and you get to know a lot of people,” Isabella said.

The new coach admitted he was surprised by some of the talents displayed by the young players. She also considers the future of the New Madrid Lady Eagles.

When you’re small, a basketball hoop can look awfully tall. However, by the end of Lady Eagles Basketball Camp, the players had discovered it was possible to get the ball into the net.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

“Some of them came out and they knew more than I thought, so that’s exciting,” she said. “I see a lot of potential and I’m excited to see what we can do.”

New Lady Eagles basketball coach Danna Woods watches the players as they struggle to dribble their ball while trying to knock down another player’s ball.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

Attendees of Lady Eagles basketball camp wait to show off their free throw shooting skills during a showcase for families at the end of camp.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

Mastering the chest pass was one of the many basic skills offered at the Lady Eagles youth basketball camp.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

Participants at Lady Eagles basketball camp for young girls in grades one through six take part in dribbling drills.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

Participants at Lady Eagles basketball camp for young girls in grades one through six take part in dribbling drills.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

Isabella Swafford has her eyes on the backboard as she prepares to shoot a free throw during the Lady Eagles youth basketball camp.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat

A participant at the New Madrid County Central Lady Eagle Basketball Youth Camp prepares to shoot a basket.

Jill Bock / Standard Democrat