Little Pats Hoop Camp a Hit
Lyric Barrett, a rising sixth- grader at West Pine Middle School, grabbed a rebound and dribbled the length of the court for a layup with a defender right on her heels.
“Yes!” Jennie Joy cried out in appreciation. The coast-to-coast journey with a basketball is one the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year made many times herself as a member of the Pinecrest basketball team.
“There’s some awesome talent here,” Joy added.
The action took place during Wednesday’s third session of the four-day Little Lady Patriots basketball camp, held at James Moore Gym.
Joy was one of the Patriot players assisting camp director and girls’ varsity coach Mike Loutzenheiser. A total of 29 third- through eighth-grade girls participated.
Loutzenheiser had only coached boys’ basketball before coming to Pinecrest and taking over the reins of the Patriot girls’ team last November. The 17-8 record was the program’s best in more than a decade, and he was voted conference coach of the year.
“The focus of the camp is the same as we have within our high school program,” he said. “The idea is that character, attitude and work ethic always outweigh talent. We want to promote those traits, encourage them and develop them.”
Barrett and rising West Pine eighth-grader Allie Barnes were among those receiving recognition as Camper of the Day for embracing that message.
“I was working hard and I listened to the coach,” Barrett said when asked why she thought she was selected. “He (Loutzen-heiser) said that every minute you should do your best, and I did my best.”
Barnes, who played for West Pine and the Lady Sting recreation teams, feels she now knows what the Pinecrest coaches are looking for in a player.
Asked if she would like to play for the Patriots when she gets to high school, she replied emphatically, “Yes, sir, that’s the goal.”
Emma and Samantha Ring, Amy Felix, Olivia Brock, Camille and Carson Honeycutt, and Madeline Allen were among the others recognized as campers of the day.
One of the youngest and smallest players on the court, Emma Ring, a third-grader at Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School, was not about to be outhustled by anyone.
The camp also provided an opportunity for high school players to give back by teaching youngsters what they have learned. Rising junior Dessence Waddell, a member of the jayvee team last season, admitted to being a little nervous on the first day.
“At first I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if I’d be a good role model,” she said, now performing with confidence. “It’s been fun.”
Patriot players helping out during the week included Felicia Painter, whose twin brother, Frankie, was performing the same duty at the Patriot youth football camp this week. Among the others were Janea Williams, Zuri Thomas, Morgan Braswell, Victoria Thigpen and Emma Loutzenheiser. Coaches included Darla Watson, Janie Hodges, B.J. McLeod and Ron Wilson.
The returning Patriot players were scheduled to entertain North Moore in a scrimmage following Thursday’s final day of the camp.
Loutzenheiser’s squad will attend a team camp at UNC Pembroke July 11-13. Williams, who along with Painter was an all-conference selection last season, is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery next month.
Contact Charlie Berg-mann at firstname.lastname@example.org. com.
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