Fundamentals Basketball Camp Not To Be Missed

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The Town of Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department-sponsored Fundamental Basketball Academy is an exciting offering that aspiring players in third to eighth grade will surely want to take advantage of.

Former Paradise Valley High School coach Bill Farrell has for the last few years hosted the basketball camps during both the spring and fall breaks.

Last fall, two of my grandchildren — Torri and Max Foster — attended the camp for the first time and, along with having a great time, learned sound basketball fundamentals.

On the second day of camp, 10-year-old Torri won a “bump-out” competition and when awarded her certificate in a postpractice ceremony, reacted with as much excitement as I’ve ever seen from her.

Max was equally as elated when he received a sportsmanship award and camp competition certificate.

The next camp will be held 9 to 11 a.m. March 18 to 24 (the second week of PUSD’s spring break) in Wilson Dome.

The cost is $35 and includes a camp T-shirt.

Instruction at the camp centers on the fundamentals of basketball, which Farrell and his staff — that includes some PHS varsity players — teach in an old school but very effective way.

Even though the camps are disciplined and challenging, an opening learning environment is created that campers and parents seem to thoroughly enjoy.

During the course of the camp, the players learn and improve their individual skills in all aspects of the game as well as developing self-confidence.

Even those youngsters who don’t plan on playing basketball in high school can prosper from what they learn at the academy.

By now, most should be familiar with Farrell, but for those who don’t know him, he is one of the most respected retired coaches in Arizona high school basketball.

He was the state’s boys basketball coach of the year in 1995 and 1997 and has won numerous regional coach of the year honors.

At Paradise Valley High School, Farrell’s teams won two titles in three seasons in 4A, taking the 1995 and 1997 championships. The 1997 team finished 29-2 while the 1995 team went 29-4.

On Dec. 2, 2005, the Paradise Valley High School gymnasium was renamed in honor of Farrell.

To register for the academy, log on to: http://www.paysonrimcountry.com/ParksRec.aspx.

Call Mary Wolf at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information.

Cline Memorial plans continue

Over the next few months, Laci Sopeland and her band of dedicated volunteers who annually host the Cline Memorial Poker Run have a goal to sell 250 raffle tickets at $100 each for the prize of a 2013 Polaris Ranger Crew 800 EPS Camo valued at about $16,100.

The reverse raffle will be held April 26 at a dinner and dance that traditionally precedes the poker run.

Tickets are now available at Anderson Dental, the Butcher Hook and from any member of the Cline Memorial Fund planning committee.

The winner of the Polaris is responsible for tax, licenses and other start-up fees.

The Fifth Annual Memorial Fund Poker Ride begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, April 27 at the O-bar-C Ranch in Tonto Basin and continues along old Jeep and mining trails through some of the county’s most scenic high desert vistas.

John Dryer, a longtime friend of the Cline family, says the route has changed slightly from last year due to a fire that swept through the area in September.

The route travels along FR 1411 past Juniper Mountain, the ZT Ranch, and Buzzard Roost Camp, and near Copper Mountain before finishing at the original starting line.

“The trip will be from 40 to 50 miles,” said Dryer.

He estimates the ride will take most of the day because riders will want to stop and sightsee, eat a lunch they pack for themselves and possibly visit with other entrants.

At the start line, poker hands will be sold for $20 each and prize money will be doled out for first, second and third place.

For the 2012 ride, 290 poker hands were sold and the top prize of $400 was pocketed by Lon Cline for his hand of five sevens.

In addition to the ride, there will be an old-fashioned benefit dinner and dance beginning at 6 p.m., Friday, April 26, the day prior to the ride, at the Butcher Hook in Tonto Basin.

The gathering is sure to include a lip-smacking meal, entertainment and plenty of small-town camaraderie.

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