WILLIAMSTOWN – With less than two weeks remaining before the Williamstown Varsity Summer League concludes with its season-ending tournament, the basketball coaches in the area are busy analyzing the pros and cons for players to compile their lists for next season of high school basketball.
“The championship was fantastic for us even though we didn’t have everyone here all at once”, said Williamstown boys’ coach Scott Sauro, who enters his 19th season with the Yellowjackets and created the league 12 years ago with six teams.
Each summer, the league sees 10 to 12 teams.
“We haven’t had everyone here yet, and that’s okay because other guys have the opportunity to show what they can do,” Sauro continued.
“We are still super young. We have a heavy second class and a heavy junior class and only one senior right now. We are in a training phase and let’s see what the technical staff can do and how much they have improved since March.
“A lot of these guys have improved and we want to see how their skills fit our plans.”
Of the 10 teams competing this summer, both Marietta and Waterford present first-year coaches with Austin Gardner of the Tigers and DJ Cunningham of the Wildcats.
“This summer championship is an important time to implement your philosophy and what your team’s identity will be”, Sauro said. “And I think both of those guys are doing it.”
Entering his thirteenth season as manager at Caldwell, Clint Crane is no rookie at all, but the Redskins have been taken off the waiting list and joined the Summer League for the first time this year.
“We are close to home and only half an hour by car, and we are playing good competition”, Gru said.
“We used to go to St. Clairsville, which was about an hour’s drive away. A couple of years while we were on the waiting list for Williamstown, we drove to Sheridan, which is where I’m from. This is a little bit closer, which makes my wife happier. “
Caldwell uses the mix and match method with his staff for Summer League matches.
It gives its younger players quality playing time for Williamstown matches and allows players like future senior Bede Lori to compete in a league in Columbus against professional and collegiate players. Lori, three times selected for All-Ohio, is only under 1,800 points for his career.
The Redskins return four of the top six players of the season with 19 victories from last year.
“We are excited about what we have”, Gru said.
Parkersburg South is another team on the pitch. The Patriots follow Caldwell’s philosophy and allow players to stick to their training schedules for the sports they compete in besides basketball.
“We know what we’re going to get from our older kids: let’s put our younger kids in places where maybe they’re a little uncomfortable, maybe they have to do things they’re not used to”, Southern coach Mike Fallon said. “This championship is huge for us.”
Regardless of the staff, Fallon and his staff aren’t ashamed to show off their vaunted end-to-end print. For the most part, the Williamstown subclasses found openings in the seams trying to keep up with the five Patriots on the floor Tuesday night.
“We love our print”, Fallon said. “Last year, we upgraded it even more and got a lot of things from West Liberty. We’ll expand it even more this year.
“We have learned a lot from what the teams have done to us against our press that we can adapt to. The most important thing about the summer and the off season is to fix all those things and where we had problems last year. “
To some extent, wins and losses are not the ultimate goal. However, it serves a purpose especially when a team goes to zero for the first two weeks. In pursuit of early summer league wins, Wirt County played a couple of games on Tuesday and defeated Caldwell 48-42 at the middle school gym, then moved on to the high school gym and defeated Tyler Consolidated 58-45.
Aidan Cheuvront took down six 3 points in the first half against Caldwell. The junior future didn’t stop there. His 3-point step back with less than 10 minutes left in the second half put the Tigers ahead 41-32. Caldwell never got closer than four points for the rest of the course.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the second half against Tyler Consolidated, Wirt County possessed a one-point lead, so they increased the double-digit lead within minutes.
“It definitely increases our confidence when we win”, Cheuvront said. “It’s a good competition in this championship and it really prepares us for the season. The chemistry begins. “
Getting used to the pace of play is an area that has been beneficial for the Tigers.
“Getting used to the speed of the game, especially for the younger kids, is something we’ve seen improvements in”, Wirt County coach Chase Mills said.
The starting times of the summer championship are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday from 18:00 to 20:00. The championship tournament is set for Thursday 30 June starting at 16:30
“This championship has been a winner” Sauro said. “The kids are playing a lot of games. Not just for our boys, but all the teams in our league are having a lot of games. It is also a fundraiser for us, for the operating costs of our program.
“We are looking for 14 teams next year, which would be a great tournament.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at [email protected]