Hardwood Hopefuls

Basketball camp attracts more than 60 players

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The largest group of hardwood hopefuls in the history of the Longhorn youth summer basketball program wrapped up play yesterday, June 19 in Wilson Dome.

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Jeremiah Hamm (left) watches Robert Walker during dribbling practice at the Junior Horns Basketball Camp held June 16 to 19 in Wilson Dome.

In the morning session, for the younger players, 33 athletes turned out. About 30 participated in the afternoon session of older players.

"We've had a good group of kids," PHS coach Kenny Hayes said. "We were happy with the interest shown."

Also working at the camp, which tipped off June 16, were Longhorn varsity players Dakoda Marshall, Ryan Hintze and Cody York. Former PHS star Robert Walker, who is bound for college where he will continue to play basketball, was also a member of the staff.

During the camp, Hayes said the staff's goal was to help the fledgling players improve their skills, learn the nuances of the game, build self-confidence and have fun.

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Participants in the Longhorn youth summer basketball program practice dribbling with their right hands.

Using a series of games and drills, the coaches taught the fundamental skills of shooting, dribbling, passing, rebounding and defense.

The Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Department cosponsored the camp. All proceeds from it will be used to benefit the Payson High School boys basketball program.

In Flagstaff

Also in summer basketball action, the PHS off-season team traveled June 13 and 14 to Flagstaff where it posted a 3-2 record in tournament action.

On the first day, Payson finished 2-0 but on the second, after several players had to return to Payson for family reasons, the team was 1-2.

"We were shorthanded," Hayes said.

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Monty James is distracted for a moment as Coach Kenny Hayes talks to the camp participants. This year's camp attracted the largest group of hardwood hopefuls in the history of the program.

Payson's losses were to Tucson Pueblo and Winslow in overtime.

"We should have beaten Winslow, we were up by eight (points) with three minutes to go," Hayes said. "We ended up losing by two in OT."

Payson's wins were over Mingus, Tuba City and Globe.

Following the team's return, Hayes cited the three players who worked the local youth camp -- Marshall, York and Hintze -- for their spirited play.

"All three of them played well," the coach said.

Next up, Hayes and the players will travel June 27 and 28 to Grand Canyon University in Phoenix where they are entered in the Antelope Summer Team Camp.

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