Tifton Gazette

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June 12, 2014

Boys and girls hoop it up at J.T. Reddick

TIFTON — Time had to be called for a few minutes Thursday morning during the basketball camp hosted by Tift County Lady Devils coach Julie Conner. It was not a break of the usual sort, for water, to change places or because of injury.

This timeout was necessary because the ball rolled from the court to the courtyard and someone had to go look for it. That was one of the unique ground rules for the camp, which was hosted at J.T. Reddick School while the high school gym was having its floor painted. The ball rolled outside as climate control consisted of wide open doors and electric fans in every corner.

If anyone minded, they sure didn't show it. The camp was attended by an energetic group of 17 boys and girls and several of Conner's players who served as assistants. The coach was also willing to sacrifice her usual home for one week, as she said she battled the paint fumes long enough to see the new hardwood design. "It's beautiful," she said.

The 17 were kept as one group for most of the morning, moving from station to station. Fundamentals were the key work, said Conner, focusing on "V-cuts, taking it to the hole, free throws and blocking in the lane."

Once those drills were over, it was time to put them together. Younger kids were put in one group and older ones in another for scrimmages, both genders mixing it up against one another. The camp ended with individual skills championships in "hot spot" shooting from different areas, speed dribbling, and free throws.

While eyeballing the action at both ends of the gym, Conner was eager to talk about her own team. The team has been hosting summer league games for area schools, albeit at Mott-Litman Gym because of the floor work. She said the roster will be young and the summer series was good for allowing them to face competition. "We've done well," she said.

The Lady Devils have been to the state tournament four straight years, including a sweet 16 appearance in 2014 and a quarterfinals trip in 2013.

Another camp is scheduled July 8-10, this one to take place at Tift County High.

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