From Little Aves to Lady Aves: girls basketball team gives back to program

Discussing strategies in the huddle, Derek Christerson has recently been appointed the new girls Varsity basketball head coach. Many of the players pictured volunteered with the middle school kids, and will continue to work toward the start of the season. The team's first game is in November against Ursuline.
Discussing strategies in the huddle, Derek Christerson has recently been appointed the new girls Varsity basketball head coach. Many of the players pictured volunteered with the middle school kids, and will continue to work toward the start of the season. The team’s first game is in November against Ursuline. Photo courtesy of McDaniel’s Photography.

It was a flashback for many of the girls basketball players as they stepped back into the empty gym at E.H. Greene Intermediate school.

Within minutes, the empty gym was filled with the sounds of bouncing basketballs, gym echoes squeaking on the wooden floor, and the laughter of over 120 fifth and sixth grade players running up and down the court.

For three hours on Sept. 23, 2013, the girls JV and Varsity basketball players coached the fifth and sixth graders from the Sycamore community. The players ran through a variety of dribbling and shooting drills to help the middle school kids prepare for their upcoming try-out.

“It was fun getting to work with the kids and watch them improve as the night went on,” said Hannah Melvin, 12.

The high school players worked with fifth and sixth grade girls for the first hour and a half, and the boys for the second hour and a half.

“The kids worked really hard and showed us that they wanted to get better,” said Taylor Miller, 10.

The majority of the high school players that helped coach the middle school kids got their start to basketball nearly seven years ago in the very gym they volunteered in that night.

Derek Christerson, Varsity head coach, felt that some of the main objectives for the night were to give back to the program that helped build his players, to expose the younger players to high school strategies, and also to keep the kids interested in the sport.

“All of the kids were so excited to work with us,” said Erin Kroell, 11. “Getting to work with them helped fill the big gap between middle and high school player and brought the basketball program closer overall.”

In just one night, seven players and three coaches were able to witness and preserve, first-hand, the future of the SHS basketball program.