PRC basketball work on cohesion during games

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 19, 2019

Chemistry in basketball is vital because it allows players to understand where teammates will be on the court.

Having that foreknowledge allows the players to cut, pass, and defend at a higher level.

Due to its importance, Head Coach Scott Stephens has used the summer months as a way to develop that chemistry between players.

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The team was busy in June with practices, team camps and games against other squads. The team took part in two, three day team camps where they played multiple games. Additionally, the squad hosted shootouts where they’d have teams from surrounding areas come to PRC and play against each other.

All of that time spent on the court was integral in having the athletes get some competitive minutes.

“The games let the kids get some game experience,” Stephens said.

“I’d rather they make a mistake in June than in November.”

The games were especially valuable for some of the players with less time on the court.

“It allows the kids to get that experience, and if it doesn’t work out and you lose the game it still serves as a teaching moment,” Stephens said.

“To put them in situations with a referee and another team where you have to find a way to win is invaluable for the kids.”

The summer games also help with the team’s conditioning, so that by the time the season comes around the players are able to play with the same energy the entire game.

“There were times fatigue set in and we had to battle out of it,” Stephens said.

The shootouts the team hosted were especially grueling, with the team sometimes playing multiple games in a single day.

“We have to prepare our minds and bodies to play 3 or 4 games,” Stephens said.

“The kids have to buy in, the challenge is more mental than anything for the camps and shootouts.”

The games serve as a way for Stephens and his staff to determine how much depth the team has, and they’re still searching for two more players who can step up and fill out the rotation.

“The magic number is 10, we want 10 who can play because then we’ll be able to outlast teams,” Stephens said.

The transition to bigger roles within a team can be hard for players, and the game time helps the younger athletes adapt to the pace of play.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s new to them that we’re trying to get them acclimated to,” Stephens said.

“The games let them get their feet wet.”

While the summer games may not have the same weight as a game against a district rival, Stephens said the intensity is the same, no matter when or where the team will play.

“I don’t ever want us to be like ‘It’s just summer league’ and do whatever we want to do,” Stephens said.

“We need to do everything the same.”

The level of the play Stephens has seen during the summer games and the team’s progression during practice has him looking forward to the future.

“I’m as excited about it as I’ve ever been,” Stephens said.

“We’ve got some pretty good pieces to the puzzle that are really going to allow us to be pretty successful.”