Friday, July 28, 2023

Lacrosse skills and drills practice an opportunity for offseason development

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High School boys’ lacrosse team has been gathering since June 27 at Cape Elizabeth High School with surrounding area teams for summer skills and drills practices each week. The purpose of these practices was to improve in the offseason while establishing group chemistry and continue that improvement up until the start of the regular season next spring. They had their final skills and drills practice on Thursday, July 27.

Windham senior Jake Lord holds onto the ball while
Windham sophomore Josh Logan defends him during a
boys lacrosse scrimmage with surrounding schools 
during a skills and drills practice on Thursday, July 20
Windham freshman Tegan Perkins said that his goal during these practices is to get as good as he can and then transfer all those skills and knowledge into the spring season. He said he feels like he’s benefitted from working with his team and others because he said every shot helps you get better.

The teams converged as one big group and then split up into offense and defense and worked on ball movement and handling, and they also competed in scrimmages.

The goal of these skills and drills practices was to continue to have the team practice and develop their lacrosse stick skills during the summer months. Skills and drills sessions were an opportunity for Windham to continue to develop their individual game and have fun on the field. Running drills with players you don’t normally play with was a great way to develop game IQ.

Windham freshman Colin McKenna said coming into high school sports is more competitive, though he knows a lot of the players in the skills and drills practices, so that’s fun. McKenna works on being coachable and takes constructive criticism as an opportunity to improve. He is always working on getting better outside of practice.

“During the season unfortunately, sometimes players are less likely to try new things or to better develop their weaknesses (different dodges, using their weaker hand, etc.) because they are afraid it will weaken the team play,” said Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse coach Peter Small. “This summer, I have watched players really hone in on their relative weaknesses and develop their game. They are also talking more on the field with each other and have developed a better sense of the overall game.”

Small was very impressed with the turnout. They’ve gotten between 25 to 30 players each practice. This was a great group of student athletes who really enjoyed the game and opportunities to play.

Windham senior Aiden Benish said the goal of skills and drills is to get as close to perfection as you can in the small subtle things like footwork, positioning and knowing what your next move is. Benish learned to transition the ball better on offense and communicate better on defense.

He said working with other schools has been like a new addition to their team; everyone works together and helps each other out. Benish said these skills and drills practices will benefit him during the spring season because he’ll have more stick experience and more time on the field with his teammates during the offseason. He wants to be the best player and teammate he can be as well as make others around him better. Eventually, Benish hopes to play at the college level.

“It's been wonderful to see them commit together to play more,” said Small. “They are bonding more as a group, communicating more, encouraging each other more, and have developed a strong identity, especially as the freshmen join with us. I greatly enjoy how hard they work and how much fun they have playing lacrosse.” <

Windham High’s Yale to play for All-American New Balance Lacrosse Team

By Matt Pascarella

Windham junior Evan Yale has been chosen to play on the New Balance All-America Lacrosse Team in a tournament which runs through July 30 in Maryland.

Windham junior Evan Yale competes during a skills and
drills session at Cape Elizabeth on Thursday, July 20.
Yale has been chosen to play for the New Balance 
Al-America New England Lacrosse Team and will compete
in Maryland from July 27 to July 30 in a lacrosse
The All-American Lacrosse Tournament displays some of the most talented players in the country and roughly 100 applicants tried to make this team and from that group, only 23 were selected to represent New England in the tournament.

Yale said that he wanted to try out to compare himself to other players and see how good he was. He says trying out for the team had no downside.

“He’s a guy that will come out and do anything that you ask,” said Windham varsity boys’ lacrosse coach Peter Small. “I think he’s somebody who can score, I think he can move the ball with his stick and pass and find people open; he gets a ton of ground balls. He has this all-around game where he can step back and evade a defender but also come in tight on a defender.”

Specifically, Yale will suit up for the 2023 New Balance All-America New England Lacrosse Team’s Burn Division, which consists of players graduating in 2025. The event in Maryland will be composed of three divisions in each region – the Command Division, the Highlight Division, and the Burn Division.

To be one out of 23 selected for this team is a real honor. Yale said it felt great to be chosen for the New Balance All-America New England team.

“I saw the subject line of the email and I was so happy,” said Yale. “I think it will be really great, there’s not many Maine kids that get to do it; I don’t think we have anyone from Windham who’s made it before. It’s really cool to be one of the first for Windham and the state of Maine.”

His hard work has already gotten him noticed by All-America Lacrosse on the field. He was a member of the 2023 Undergraduate All-Star Team and was written about in the 2022 New England Lacrosse Journal as one of the most impressive attackmen.

Accolades motivate Yale to work even harder, but also show him what his hard work can become. Yale said he knows working harder means he’ll get better on the field.

Windham senior Tobias Perkins praised Yale as a great choice for this tournament because of his great skill set and positive attitude. Perkins said Yale has a strong ability to get by defenders and create space to get a shot off and Yale can see the field and make great passes.

Practices with the Windham team, playing wall ball and staying after practices with teammates to work on shooting and the basics of the game have helped Yale a great deal in achieving an accomplishment like this.

“He’s an outstanding and accomplished player,” said Lee Corrigan, Owner and Operator of Corrigan Sports Enterprises and All-America Lacrosse event powered by New Balance. “It’s a very prestigious thing to be involved with the All-America Games. He’s an outstanding player [and it is projected] that he’ll be an outstanding player at the collegiate level. The people who have come through our event in the last 17 years have all gone on to have great college careers.”

Small said that Yale brings a high lacrosse IQ, a willingness to do anything for his teammates and a complete game to the field. Yale is very team-oriented and Small said he could have scored more this year but chose to feed his teammates and that he’s an unselfish player in the way that he plays.

Yale is aiming to attend a college with a competitive lacrosse program when he finishes high school. <

Tales from the Outdoors: Fishing the Atlantic

By Bob Chapin

If you really want a fun day afield that is also a physical challenge, then consider a “head” trip out into the Atlantic for a day of bottom fishing. When I say “head boat” I am referring to a boat where you pay a “head fee” to be taken aboard and the captain and crew do most of the work getting you to the fishing grounds, equipping you with a rod and reel with terminal tackle already attached, and bait if you choose to use it.

A fisherman awaits a catch while deep sea
fishing in the Atlantic Ocean while aboard
the Bunny Clark out of Ogunquit. 
The operation I am most familiar with is aboard the Bunny Clark out of Perkins Cove in Ogunquit. From my house here in Raymond it takes about an hour and a half to get there, and you are asked to arrive at the dock at 6:15 a.m. for a 7 a.m. departure. The Bunny Clark can accommodate up to 24 fishermen, but they rarely book that many which can get frustrating when your lines keep getting tangled. A group of 18 or less is perfect as it is less chaotic for all, including the crew.

The last trip I took this past June had about 16 fishermen and a Department of Marine Sciences researcher aboard who was there to check catches and record species, lengths, and weights. Ethan was his name, and he did an excellent job which can get hectic when the fish start coming aboard. We always stop at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Wells enroute and pick up a dozen for Captain Ian and crew. It doesn’t get us a guaranteed preferred place on the boat rail, but it does start the trip off on a pleasant note. 

Speaking of preferred locations there are several on the boat and fishermen who have been a few times, know and “fight” for their favorites. Some like the bow to get away from other fishermen, others prefer the stern cause it is wide and allows more unobstructed water to get your line down, others prefer under the top cover out of the rain and sun if that is a consideration. Frankly, it doesn’t matter where you fish, you all catch fish. We were on what they call their “Elite” trip which returns promptly at 5 p.m. For that you pay a fee of $125 per fisherman.

I usually pack a book or a Kindle to pass the time on the ride out to the fishing grounds at Jefferey’s Ledge, which is a 2-hour boat ride of about 25 miles straight out into the Atlantic. On the way out I have seen whales spouting, tuna fish jumping clear out of the water, and one year a whale shark that for some reason had taken an interest in a lobster buoy and was bumping into it repeatedly. Porpoises are a common sight racing the bow of the boat.

You know you have arrived at the fishing grounds when the captain reduces power and begins circling a set of GPS coordinates for a favorite spot. The first mate will also start handing out fishing rods and you will have to declare whether you want to jig or will use bait. It doesn’t matter which you choose but if you choose bait, you will be handling cut up bait, usually Spanish Mackerel, which some folks rather not get on their fingers because then their lunch tastes like it. It doesn’t matter which you choose because all will catch fish if they are there. The captain picked this particular spot because he has caught fish here in the past but fish move around, a lot, so be prepared for a couple of moves before you get on fish.

It seems no matter where you stop over the Ledge to fish the Dogfish, or sand sharks, are there and will find your bait. When they do it seems as though that is all you catch. When you are using 16-ounce jigs or Dipsey sinkers and fishing in 180 to 300 feet of water just cranking up your terminal tackle alone is a tough proposition. Because you will have more than one hook in your terminal tackle, it is not unusual to catch two fish at a time. This is where the physically challenging part comes in. If the seas are rough while you are out there, you are trying to keep your balance on the boat while reeling in your prize. It is a handful to get to the surface but, hey, that is why you came right?

There is currently a moratorium on Cod until September so those go back, but you are just as likely to catch Pollock, Haddock, Hake, Red Snapper, or Halibut, all good eating fish, if you can keep the dogfish off your line.

The First Mate will come around to retrieve your fish and mark it with a Roman Numeral, so he knows it is yours when he filets them on the ride back to port. Occasionally, Blue Sharks will show up and they hang out under the boat. That is bad news because they will steal your fish before you can get them out of the water. Most are 4 to 6 feet in length and after you have done all that cranking to get your catch up from the bottom you don’t want to lose it to a shark. So, save a bit of energy for that last 15 feet under the water so you can crank your fish in clear of the water once you begin to “see color” as your fish ascends. Do not let it linger near the surface or you will lose it and your terminal tackle. The first set is free, after that you will owe the captain $16 a set!

One last tip…at the end of the day you will be tired and a little frazzled. I like to bring a glass jar with lid filled with water and a clean washcloth. <

Friday, July 21, 2023

33rd Annual Lobster Bowl a big success for outgoing Windham seniors

By Matt Pascarella

The 33rd Maine Shriner Lobster Bowl Classic is a tremendous opportunity for any Maine high school senior, but also does a lot of good raising money for the Shriners Children’s Hospitals. Windham was well represented this year by seniors Max Arbour, Logan Hirning and Alex Yeaton who played on the East football team at Don Roux Field in Lewiston on Saturday, July 15 against the West.

Windham seniors Max Arbour, left, Alex Yeaton, and Logan
Hirning gather after their team, the East, beat the West in the
Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl at Lewiston High School on
“Just an unreal experience having so many communities come together and support one team for a really good cause,” said Hirning.

The teams spent a week having three practices a day and rooming together in dormitories. Hirning said that the players really came together, and it was the comradery that pushed these former rivals to unify as a team. Next year, Hirning will attend the University of Maine and major in construction engineering.

According to the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl website, “The Shriners Hospitals for Children is a network of 22 non-profit medical facilities across North America that provide care to children with orthopedic conditions, burns or spinal cord injuries as well those who are suffering from cleft lip and palate. These hospitals offer all services in an environment where family members feel comfortable enough so they can bond emotionally while providing treatment needed by their loved ones during difficult times, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.”

The East team had the lead for most of the game, and while the West scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, the East was able to hold them off and won the game, 28-23.

While the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl website describes the game as a “tightly contested battle,” there are no losers during this event. Maine seniors help raise money for Shriners Hospitals and those seniors get to play in this respected game.

Since 1990, the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl athletes have donated more than $750,000 for Shriners Children’s Hospitals. This year, its participants did an amazing job and raised over $235,000 which will go directly to Shriners medical facilities across the country.

“It meant a lot to my family, my community, all the kids that were unable to play – representing Shriners meant a lot to me,” said Arbour.

Arbour went in not knowing anyone, but by the end, all his teammates felt like brothers to him. He said it was weird at first to be practicing alongside players Windham competed against for the past four years, but before long they had really solidified as a team.

In school, Arbour started out playing soccer and wasn’t enjoying it, so once he reached second grade, he began playing football and he’s never looked back. It’s his favorite sport and he will play it at the University of New England next year while majoring in medical biology.

“It was really fun, there were a lot of ups and downs,” said Yeaton about the Lobster Bowl game. “But at the end of the day we won so I couldn’t be [happier] with my team.”

Yeaton also began playing football in second grade. He had watched it on TV and said he couldn’t wait to get on the field to play. Next year, Yeaton will also attend the University of New England where he will play football and major in business.

“All three of them were integral to this game,” said Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl East head coach Mark Soehren about the Windham players. “They are fantastic, coachable, tough – I can’t say enough about them.”<

Windham Little League’s Beacon Environmental steadily shows improvement

By Matt Pascarella

Although Windham Little League’s 13 to 15-year-old Beacon Environmental baseball team lost 18-8 against Gray New-Gloucester at Windham on Monday, July 17, they put up a good fight and showed they have improved as the end of the season nears.

Windham Little League's Lucas Vance of Beacon
Environmental swings and hits a triple during a
game against Gray New Gloucester at Windham
on Monday, July 17.
Beacon Environmental kept it close with Gray New-Gloucester for the first two innings, but Gray New-Gloucester had a big third inning and took the lead. Beacon Environmental’s defense kept them to one run in the fourth inning and ended multiple innings with Gray New-Gloucester runners stranded on base.

“The kids were more excited, they had more time to get some batting practice in before this game,” said Windham Beacon Environmental coach John Cressey. “That motivated them, and it gave them something to build off of so when they came into the game, they had their rhythm.”

Cressey said Windham pitched to contact, they were pounding the zone, they were keeping batters on their heels. Windham was aggressive at the plate, and this turned into one of the higher scoring games of the season. Cressey said they were cheering each other on a little more and morale increased once some runs were scored. It’s tough when there are errors in the field, but you get past it, move on and continue to build on it.

In the first inning, Windham sophomore Harley Hinton Jr. was hit by a pitch. A walk and eighth grader Dakota Winkler singled and Hinton Jr. scored. Eighth grader Brooke Brown walked, and freshman Lucas Vance tripled which brought in Winkler and Brown. Eighth grader Jordan Tom singled and Vance scored.

“All together I think we did pretty good, but there were a few errors, and we can improve,” said Vance.

Vance said his hitting has gotten better and the team’s morale was improved from its last game.

Windham eighth graders Aiden Pennington and Zach Gaudet both walked in the second inning. Hinton Jr. singled; Winkler doubled, and Hinton Jr. scored. Brown singled and Gaudet and Winkler scored.

Winkler, Brown and Vance all got 2 RBIs during the game. Tom had one RBI.

Tom said hitting and pitching had improved during this game. Tom thought he did alright against Gray New Gloucester as he hit the ball, caught fly balls hit his way and ran the bases well.

Gray New-Gloucester put six runs on the scoreboard in the third inning.

Hinton Jr. walked in the fifth inning. Gaudet singled. Eighth grader Aiden Rinaldi and Brown walked. Hinton Jr. scored on a wild pitch.

Winkler said the team’s batting had improved from last game and there were less errors; pitching was good, and Windham got on base. They are more confident as a team. <

Friday, July 14, 2023

Windham Little League 9-10 All-Star softball pulls together for big win over Westbrook

By Matt Pascarella

Windham Little League’s 9-10 All-Star softball team had a solid run during their double elimination tournament season, which sadly came to an end after losses to Bonny Eagle and South Portland. However, in between those games was a stellar 17-4 win over the Westbrook Minors All-Stars on Wednesday, July 5 at the American Legion Softball Field in Falmouth.

Windham Little League 9-10 Softball All-Star and fifth grader
Ella Higgins keeps her eyes on the ball while batting during
a tournament game against Westbrook on Wednesday, July 5
at the American Legion Softball Field in Falmouth.
Windham pitcher and fifth grader Brooke Legere pitched and struck out 5 batters in 4 innings, only allowing 1 hit.

Legere said she started out a little nervous but as the innings progressed, she began to feel more comfortable. She had more control of the ball during the game, and her release point was better. The team worked hard, stayed together, and didn’t get down on one another.

In the first inning, Legere was hit by a pitch. There was little to no hesitation as she stole base after base and scored on a wild pitch. Fifth grader Lily Nickel walked, sixth grader Julia Leach singled and Nickel stole home. Fifth grader Ella Higgins singled and Leach scored. Fifth grader Ava Kostopoulos walked, and Higgins scored on a passed ball. Fifth grader Avary Caiazzo singled which brought in Kostopoulos. Caiazzo later scored on a wild pitch. Windham led 6-2 after one inning.

Windham added four more runs to the scoreboard in the second inning and their defense kept Westbrook scoreless in the second. Kostopoulos stopped a run headed home after a throw from Higgins. In the bottom of the third inning, Nickel caught a pop fly.

The top of the fourth inning was another big inning for Windham. After sixth graders Brielle Duffy and Leah Ronfeldt were both hit by pitches, sixth grader Aubrey Bell walked. Both Duffy and Ronfeldt scored on wild pitches. Legere singled and Belle scored. Leach walked and Legere scored on a wild pitch. Nickel walked and later scored. Higgins walked and Leach scored. Higgins scored on a passed ball before the end of the inning.

Windham’s lead was massive, and Westbrook could not catch up.

Kostopoulos said Windham tried their hardest and got the bat on the ball. She thought defense and the fact that they made a lot of good plays contributed to the win.

As Higgins reflected back on this season, she said that she was excited to play on the Windham All-Star team and they put in a lot of work.

As Caiazzo looked back on the season, said she was also excited to be on the team. She thought the season went great, it was fun, they all tried their best and she’s proud of the whole team.

“At the start of the season most of the girls had not played together,” said Windham Little League 9-10 All-Star softball coach Ronnie Higgins. “It was great to see them learn new concepts and develop as players. By the end of the season, they were clicking as a team and making some great friendships as well.”

They wanted to compete and enjoyed the game. When the season ended, Windham wanted to keep practicing and do more. For Higgins, that’s a win. <

Windham eighth grader chosen to play in USA Softball All-American Games

By Matt Pascarella

Windham eighth grader Eliana “Yani” Kostopoulos was the only player selected from Maine to participate in the USA Softball All-American Games; a distinguished tournament that provides exposure to athletes in the U-12 Division and will be played in Oklahoma City from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13. To be selected to play in this tournament is the highest honor a player can receive and means they are considered one of the top athletes in the United States.

Windham eighth grader Eliana 'Yani' 
Kostopoulos has been selected to play in
the USA Softball All-American Games
in the U-12 division in Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma in August.
“It is an honor to have been offered a roster spot on the Northeast Region 1 Stars,” said Kostopoulos. “I was one of around 150 girls that made our way to our tryout on a snowy February morning in New Hampshire. I’m really excited for this tournament and getting another opportunity to play the game that I love at a higher level.”

It has taken drive and dedication for Kostopoulos to reach this point. She has been challenged this summer moving up with her travel team to U-14 rather than remaining at the U-12 level. It’s important for Kostopoulos to remain mentally tough and to do her best every time she steps onto the field. Softball is a mental game and maintaining a positive attitude is a necessity.

Kostopoulos began playing T-ball at 5 years old and moved up to playing softball at 6 years old, thanks to Portland Little League’s Julie Armstrong who pushed her to move up and play up.

When Kostopoulos was 8, she made her first travel team, the U-10 Lady Mavericks. Her family is a big softball and baseball family, and she would often play catch with a baseball with with her older cousin. Her grandfather used to let her practice with a girls’ All-Star softball team that he coached in Cumberland. The girls were older, but always encouraged Kostopoulos.

“I think I just really fell in love with the sport at a young age,” said Kostopoulos. “My goal is to play college softball and make my family proud.”

The idea of being able to play college ball one day is what keeps Kostopoulos pushing herself and continuing to work hard.

Without softball, she wouldn’t have met some of her best friends and formed bonds. She really loves the sport and loves being on the field with her teammates.

“Yani is a good teammate because she is extremely supportive, and because she makes a great impact on the team,” said Maine Thunder teammate and Sanford freshman Jenna Soucy. “She can do almost everything, she is a great batter and a great first basemen, she’s got a great arm ... she’s tall and she has tons of power at the plate.”

Hermon freshman and Maine Thunder teammate Becca Balmas said that Kostopoulos is an excellent choice to play in the USA All-American Softball Games because of her overall positive attitude and successful mindset. She is an amazing infielder and hitter, and Balmas believes she works so hard to be where she is and deserves this opportunity 100 percent.

It is important to Kostopoulos that she earn her place on this trip, just like she earned a spot in this tournament and she’s working really hard in raising money to help pay for it.

If you’d like to help, you can donate through her mother’s Venmo: @gina-kostopoulos

“It means a lot to me to step foot on the same dirt that the college World Series is played and some of the most prestigious softball players tie up their cleats,” said Eliana Kostopoulos. “I am proud to represent the team and organization of every uniform I wear.”<

Friday, July 7, 2023

Windham Little League 11-12 Baseball All-Stars fight hard in district tournament

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Little League 11-12 Baseball All-Stars opened the annual district tournament at the Westbrook Little League Complex with a close 3-2 victory over Tri Town on Friday, June 23 and then beat the Cape Elizabeth All-Stars 6-1 on Tuesday, June 27. Windham left it all on the field in a game against Cumberland North Yarmouth, but sustained its first tournament loss, 10-5, on Friday, June 30.

Windham seventh grader Dylan Emmons makes contact during
a tournament game at the Westbrook Little League Complex 
on Friday, June 30 against Cumberland North Yarmouth.
“We had a very ... rough and rocky start, but the kids never gave up on each other, they never gave up on the team,” said Windham 11-12 All-Stars coach Mike Manning. They continued to battle hard and that’s all you can ever really want as a coach; they don’t quit, they keep playing hard.”

A couple errors in the first inning by Windham put some Cumberland North Yarmouth runners on base and they scored three runs. However, some excellent fielding and quick feet by Windham center fielder and sixth grader Nolan Harvie had several solid fly ball catches early in the game.

Harvie said he was thinking about running hard and trying, because he knew doing so could save the game. He said he did good at the plate and made good contact.

Windham didn’t let a small lead get them down. Harvie was hit by a pitch in the first inning. Seventh grader Sullivan Nappi singled and Harvie scored. Seventh grader Joseph Small singled to right center and brought Nappi to third base. Sixth grader Robbie Sanicola reached first base and Nappi scored.

A fly ball to Harvie, a strikeout and another fly ball to Harvie sent Cumberland North Yarmouth back to the dugout in the second inning.

In the third inning, seventh grader Brady Legere walked, then stole second base. A single by Harvie brought Legere to third base and when seventh grader Ryan Manning grounded out, Legere scored. Now, the game is tied 3-3.

Unfortunately, Cumberland North Yarmouth scored six runs in the fourth inning, but Windham kept them scoreless in the fifth inning.

Windham had one last chance in the sixth inning, and they really put the effort in. Manning walked and Nappi singled. Small walked and now Manning is on third base. Manning’s hustle enabled him to score on a passed ball. Nappi also scored.

“We had a couple errors at the beginning, but we definitely pulled together,” said Nappi. “At the end, we tried to battle back. At one point we did tie the game up, but it kind of got away from us.”

Nappi said Harvie’s catches were a positive of the game, pitching went well and there were solid hits, good fielding and it was a fun game.

Windham will play again on Thursday, July 6 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent. <

Eagle Hoop Camp provides great opportunity for younger girls to learn skills from varsity players

By Matt Pascarella

The Windham varsity girls’ basketball team shared their knowledge of the game with 30 to 35 up-and-coming younger players during the Eagle Hoop Camp for grades 3 through 8 held at Windham High School during the week of June 26. The camp had a great turnout, and its numbers are growing every year.

Windham varsity girls' basketball coach Brody Artes
addresses a group of participants in the Eagle Hoop Camp 
at Windham High School on Thursday, June 29. The camp 
gave Windham varsity players an opportunity to teach
younger players about basketball.
Windham sophomore Kendra Eubanks said the week went really well and she thought the girls have learned a lot from Windham varsity girls’ basketball coach Brody Artes and the varsity players. The goal of the camp was to bring the girls together to play basketball, to love the game, learn from the varsity players and have fun.

Eubanks said the younger players look at the varsity players as role models and the camp teaches how to be strong girls in basketball. Eubanks said they need more strong women to get out there and play basketball.

“Everything is designed for the high school kids to compete with the younger kids and participate in the drills,” said Artes. “A lot of the drills we do in the camp are drills we do in a high school practice. Good things for all basketball players to focus on as we progress and get better at the game.”

Artes said the varsity team does a really good job of helping with the camp and forming really good relationships with kids at a young age.

During the week, both the varsity girls and the younger camp participants work on a variety of skills. They worked on ball handling, passing, shooting form and making sure the participants understood what to look for before they take a shot, defensive positioning on the floor, and other basic skills that would be reiterated once they reach the high school level. Exposing younger kids to these skills and drills early is beneficial so it serves as more of a refresher once they reach high school, rather than brand new information.

Windham seventh grader Peyton McLean said the week shows that Windham Basketball has a really good future to come. McLean said she has learned how to get better at shooting by getting your arc up, dribbling and a bit about defense and how to guard correctly.

McLean would love to play on a college team some day and said she will achieve that through practice and getting better every day.

“The camp’s gone super well, it’s super fun,” said Windham senior Mallory Muse. “All the kids are super engaged and it’s really good for all of us to get to interact with them, [encourage] them to have fun so they keep playing. We’ve done a lot of drills, but also games that are fun. It’s fun to see a bunch of little girls who love to play basketball.”

Windham sixth grader Alexis Woodcock said practicing basketball is better for her team. The week has gone well, she’s been practicing a lot and has worked on layups and learned a lot of foot and shooting skills. If she gets better during her time at the Eagle Hoop Camp, she said it will help her team.

Artes said he could see a lot of desire and enthusiasm from the kids and that really brightens up the room for the high school players and they are such a positive impact on those kids, but he also thinks it goes both ways. The varsity players really get a lot out of being mentors and working hard with those little kids – it’s a good give-and-take on both ends.

He said it’s been great and a fun week.<