Woodland fans may remember Markise Smith’s corner 3-pointer with six seconds remaining to beat Paulding County back in January.
Those big plays in the winter months of the basketball season were in crowded gyms in meaningful games.
However, the skills that Morning and Smith utilized to make those game-winning shots were developed during the summer months in empty gyms with few watching.
Now that the 2014 class has graduated, a new crop of Bartow basketball players are honing their skills in preparation for those big moments, and on Thursday, today and Saturday, Woodland, Cass and Adairsville players are developing their skills at the Cass summer basketball camp.
“This summer, we’re trying to get all our guys playing time and get them in all kinds of situations because that’s what we’ll have to depend on this winter,” Cass head coach Greg Scott said of the camp.
“I’ve been to this camp before with other teams. I know [Cass] puts on a good camp. Coach Scott works hard to make sure that everybody gets a lot of good games,” first-year Adairsville head coach Reggie Wilkes said. “It’s a good experience for the kids. It’s good competition from around the area. It’s good for them to get together and build team relationships so they know how to work with one another and they get along. That’s the main thing.”
Each of the 10 teams participating in the camp will play six games in the three days.
“It’s a fundraiser, for one. Second, I thought it was a way to have summer games and not have to travel,” Scott said of why he started the camp seven years ago. “We don’t have to pay for travel, for bus fuel. It’s real easy to play in your own gym and then get home to bed.”
Cass will play 22 varsity games and 18 junior varsity games before the end of June. Adairsville will play 30 games this summer.
For Wilkes, it is his first opportunity to coach Adairsville.
“Everything’s going well,” He said. “We’ve been learning each other — me getting to know the kids and them getting to know me and starting to form that coach-player relationship.”
The camp is sanctioned by the GHSA, which means referees can register to participate and receive instruction. Participation in the camp also means the referees are eligible to officiate postseason games.
Sixty-one referees will take part in the camp this year, and for a ref to be eligible to officiate postseason games, he or she must attend a GHSA-sanctioned referee camp once every two years. Prior to this year, referees were graded on their performances, which determined who would be able to officiate postseason games. This year, camp grades will determine who the GHSA will evaluate for possible postseason duties during the winter season. A camera is set up for each game to tape the action. Three referees officiate each half and then go to a classroom at Cass High for a critique from a technician who is present at each game. Four stations are set up in the classroom to review tape.
Dock Sisk, a Division I women’s college referee for 27 years in the SEC and ACC, was the head technician and organizes the officiating at the camp.
“We can take that chip up there and sometimes the tape sessions last an hour,” Sisk said. “The technicians go through and they look at the calls, looking at mechanics, positioning; they look at everything. [Officials] get lots of constructive criticism here.”
Scott said it was important to have the camp sanctioned by the GHSA to get quality officials and to develop a relationship with who will be officiating Cass’ games in the winter.
“I think it helps a coach-official relationship,” Scott said of the camp. “I see them during the summer. They see me during the summer. During the season, when they got one of my games, I can usually stand behind them and talk into their ear a little bit. It gets a rapport going between coaches and officials that I try to build on.”