Girl’s basketball camp continues to grow
© Darrell Cole – Amherst Daily News
Players Danielle Young (left) and Maitland Terrio talk to instructor Matt Gamblin during the ARHS VIkettes Summer Basketball Camp.
AMHERST – Summer is not traditionally basketball season in Amherst.
Gillian Ellis, head coach of the ARHS Vikettes, is working to change that.
For the fifth consecutive year, Ellis has offered a summer hoops camp that brings young female players together to learn from some of the region’s top coaches.
“All the girls who take part in the camp get the opportunity to work on their fundamentals and stay sharp over the summer,” Ellis said. “We are very fortunate to have some coaches who give their time to help the girls work on things like defence, transition, one-on-ones and two-on-twos. The kids are learning so much.”
Ellis said the players who work on their game over the summer are usually the ones who are a little further ahead when the season begins in the fall. Plus, she said, having people like Augie Jones of St. F.X., Mark Forward of Mount St. Vincent, Joe and Janet Wells and new Mount Allison Women’s Mounties’ coach Matt Gamblin only adds to the skill development opportunities available to participants.
Ellis said the camp is continuing to grow. This year, there are more than 70 players in two age groups ranging from Grade 4 to 12.
And it’s not just players from Amherst who are participating. Ellis said there are several participants from the Moncton area as well as from Halifax. She said they’ve chosen the Amherst camp because of the cost and the level of coaching that’s offered.
She also credits businesses included Carline, Minocha McKenny Dentistry, Canadian Tire and Tantramar Chev Buick GMC Ltd. for helping keep the camp affordable.
“One of the goals is to teach them skills they can take away from the camp and work on their own throughout the rest of the summer,” she said.
Gamblin, who coached the ARHS Vikings to the NSSAF Division 2 championship in the spring, is entering his first season as Mounties’ coach.
Besides being busy recruiting at tournaments around the region, Gamblin said he’s only too happy to help the camp.
“It didn’t take much to get me to do it. I love the gym and love basketball,” said Gamblin, who worked on two-on-two tactics and some fundamentals.
For some of the camp’s older players, Gamblin said it gives them the opportunity to learn some of what’s needed for them to play at a higher level.
“I like to give them some perspective on what’s needed to get there,” he said.
Camp participants Maitland Terrio and Danielle Young said it’s good to get some off-season training from top coaches.
“I find it really helps me stay sharp in the off-season,” said Terrio. “It’s also good in that the younger players, those coming into Grade 9, see what it takes to play at the high school level when they’re trying out.”
Young said she enjoys working with the younger players and feels the camp gives them the training to take their game to the next level.
“It’s really great to get the coaching we’re getting here and it helps us keep our skills fresh so we’re ready when the season begins,” Young said.