The offseason programs vary in difficulty and intensity for the local schools.
The Reed girls basketball team plays mostly in the month of June, in the northern Nevada summer league hosted at McQueen High School. The Raiders are also participating in a tournament this weekend held at Spanish Springs High.
“Anytime they can pick up a ball and get some games underneath their belts is a good thing,” Reed coach Sara Schopper said. “We don’t run a whole lot of plays during the summer. We just get up and down the floor a little bit.
“It’s a time for them to make mistakes. It’s a time when they’re going to learn and have a little bit more freedom to learn the game and make a little more mistakes than they could during the season. They can just play the game.”
Reed has a shortened summer season because Schopper wants her kids to participate in AAU basketball and other leagues if they have the opportunity to do so.
The Reed boys basketball summer program varies greatly as the Raiders play almost the entire summer.
“It’s definitely big,” Reed coach Dustin Hall said on the summer program. “It’s a chance to work on a lot of fundamentals with kids and do some one-on-one skill work.
“I put a lot of value in just the skill work, hoping to build some skills they can build on in the coming year. It all is important, but it’s a chance for the kids to develop their skills.”
However, many of Reed’s players are younger. He said most of his varsity is playing football, or baseball, so his RHS staff now has the time to work with the younger Raiders and help them learn and sharpen skills.
“We’re doing weights,” Hall explained. “We lift three times a week and we do conditioning a couple times a week. Our next tournament is in two weeks. We’re going to Sacramento.”
From a time standpoint, the Sparks boys basketball summer program is similar to the Reed girls, only playing in June. Coach Dick Lee said he had anywhere from 6-12 players who come to play on a regular basis.
“It’s more valuable than not doing it,” Lee said. “It’ll be beneficial. I don’t know how much it’s going to pay off but it’ll be beneficial.”
Sparks has held open gym throughout the month on Mondays and Wednesdays while hosting games on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Lee said his Railroaders played about 25 games this summer. They finish up the summer with a tournament in Sacramento this weekend.
At Spanish Springs, the Cougar girls not only host tournaments, but they try and squeeze in quite a few.
The Cougars will get in anywhere from 30 to 40 games this summer. The local school attends tournaments nearly every weekend in June and July, coach Christine Eckles said.
“It’s really about just trying to improve our fundamental skills, work on our weaknesses and better our strengths,” she said. “It gives kids a lot of experience, especially to the kids who are moving up from JV to varsity. They can almost get a whole season underneath their belt, which gives them more confidence.”
All levels of student athletes have been playing for the Cougars this summer, including their seven returning varsity players as well as underclassmen, and even incoming freshman.
Spanish Springs has tried to seek out some teams they have not seen in league and get in some fresh, new competition.
Prep hoop fans can see all the teams in action during their winter high school campaigns. All the teams will start preseason training in October and official practice for the 2009-2010 season tips off mid-November.