Friday, January 4, 2019



The giving season may come to an end after Christmas Day for many, but for a few students at Washingtonville High School, it has only just begun.  With many kids wanting to do something other than be squeezed by relatives, the girls' varsity basketball team provides a great option for them.

Bright and early at the high school gym, kids are running in every direction with a basketball in their hands, each of them attempting to shoot a basket which seems to be sky high above their heads.  Screams of laughter and joy echo across the gym until a loud whistle blows to gather everyone’s attention.

Jewel Calabro for the WIZARD WEEKLY
This is the annual kids' basketball camp for third to sixth graders. This is a fun-filled two day camp from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm and it runs through December 27th and 28th.  This event is a fundraiser for the girls' varsity basketball team.  

As the camp begins, Coach Steeves calls everyone to form a large circle to start the drills and warm ups.  “We started off today with some ball handling drills, just to get them used to handling the basketball,” explained Jim Steeves, the girls' basketball coach.  The boys and girls watch as the older players teach them the skills needed to play.  This includes “basic dribbling, handoffs, passing, and shooting,” exclaimed Annalee Dorozynski, "This is all you need to be successful.”  

These skills being taught to the young players are the same skills that the girls work on to improve their own games.  The campers attempt to do the same challenging drills the girls do during every practice.  This prepares them for what to expect in the their future basketball careers if they continue to play.  Afterwards, some more free shooting occurs until the whistle blows again, starting the relay races.  

Now relay races are not directly related to basketball, however, they “ …  are kind of just a break from the skills of basketball to keep some of the fun” for the younger students (Coach Steeves). The races keep the fun by using intense friendly competition and scooters, but they also add important elements of character needed to play on a team.  With the campers learning teamwork, dedication, timing, and good sportsmanship, they are ready for phase two.  After a quick snack, of course.

The extravagant knockout challenge is a favorite of the little Wizards.  It is a game where a line forms in front of a basket, while two people attempt to “knock” the other out by shooting a basket before the other person.  Once knocked out, the player moves to the next line with a new hoop to try again.  The most challenging part is going up against the older pros.  “They caught on quickly,” exclaims Madison Lares, a varsity team member.  She went on to say,  "A huge underdog twist occurred as the kids won in significant numbers, moving them onto the next, and final challenge of the day." 

Jewel Calabro for the WIZARD WEEKLY
The kids would play against the pros one final time. This very intense game, similar to knockout, but instead of going two at a time, it’s one player at a time.  The first one to go creates a shot which everyone else must attempt.  If one player completes the shot, the person who created the shot gets a letter.  Each letter ends up spelling “OUT”.  Once a player spells “OUT” they are, in fact, out.  The person who beat the creator, gets to create the next shot for everyone in the game.  This goes on until there is one man standing.

This last nail-biting competition was very close in the end. Regardless of the challenge, these young rockstar athletes beat most of the varsity team players!  No one is fully sure who won since the day had to come to an end once moms and dads showed up to pick up their superstar athletes.

This event was not just for the kids to kick some butt.  This was also a fundraiser for the girls' varsity basketball team.  One varsity player, Gisselle Tapia, stated that this money would help buy “the equipment, jerseys, or anything else we would need throughout the year.”

This event is beneficial for the team and the kids who come in each year.  The varsity girls “…may see in their future a career in child care, or teaching, or something like that.  I’ve had some girls in the past who have done that.  It’s a good experience for the varsity girls and the campers as well,”  Coach Steeves said with a smile on his face. All in all, it was a great day for all of the students who participated.

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