Seniors set tone at Lady Cougars’ basketball camp
Last week, about 25 current and future Lady Cougars basketball players gathered in the Shawnee Mission Northwest High School gymnasium for coach John Reiff's summer basketball camp.
And when Reiff started to get down to business he got some help from his seniors.
"It was great," Reiff said. "All of my seniors were there providing senior leadership. They took over and ran some drills. They really set the tone."
The week-long camp, which focused on fundamentals as well as game-type situations, attracted not only all of Reiff's returning seniors but also a large number of juniors and several from a talented freshman class.
"There's some talent with the incoming freshman class," Reiff said. "They've got some point guard ability, which is something we need, and they've got some size, as well. There's some overall good basketball ability there."
When asked if a freshman could crack the varsity lineup during the 2006-2007 season, Reiff left the door open to the possibility.
"There might be a few," Reiff said. "Some might be able to come up and contribute."
But make no mistake -- this team, led by senior returnees Jessie Bocquin, Shaina Hunt, Amelia Jones, Becca Roberts and Leslie White -- is all about its upper classmen.
"It will be a senior-laden team," Reiff said.
And the seniors have already shown their leadership this summer.
Earlier in June, the Cougar girls traveled to the Northwest Missouri team game camp to participate in eight games.The Cougars emerged with a 7-1 record, but more importantly, made huge strides as a unit.
"They were really able to handle pressure," Reiff said. "They just got to go out and take care of the ball, and we saw, even at our camp, that Jessie Bocquin and Shaina Hunt can handle our guard duties."
As Reiff took pleasure in watching his guards' progress in their ball-handling education, he also realized that there were still areas that would need to be addressed when practice begins in November.
"We'll still have to work on our shooting," Reiff said. "And in some of the summer league games we fouled a little too much. A lot of times they were just silly fouls. That's one thing we need to work on is staying on the floor, not fouling out."
Between now and November Reiff will keep an eye out for how his players are doing through AAU and club ball.
The girls will return for the annual Sunflower League fall league when the school year starts up, but for now, Reiff trusts that his girls will do what they have to do to maintain their current level of progress.
"I told my players, 'It's time to be out there on your own,'" Reiff said. "You've gone to camp and you've improved and that's great, but now you've got to work. It means nothing if you don't keep at it."