Calvary sees increase in numbers at basketball camp

There’s strength in numbers. Just ask the Calvary Lutheran boys basketball team.

The Lions, who wrapped up their summer camp Friday after a week’s worth of work at the Trinity Lutheran gym, were able to get plenty of work done thanks to an increase in attendance over last year.

“We had a really good week — we had 20 kids total and I think the fewest amount any day was 17,” Calvary coach Mark Buffington said. “Compared to nine and 10 last year, this is so much better. They’re light years ahead of where they were last year, so it’s been a good week.”

Because of those numbers, the focus hasn’t been on individual skills as much. Instead, they’ve been able to get in game-like experience.

“We’ve been able to do a lot more team stuff this week,” Buffington said. “And a lot of that is with the younger kids, which is a good thing, since we’ve got eight freshmen.”

Teamwork has been important, since the team is heading to the Sturgeon Shootout next week before taking part in the Capital City Shootout on June 15-16. After that, it will be on to an event hosted by William Woods.

“We’ll get in about 16-18 games in a couple weeks,” Buffington said. “That’s more than what we were able to do last year — I think we only did one Shootout last year.”

And in what likely was music to the players’ ears, the past week was almost entirely about putting the ball in the hole.

“The main thrust was on offense, we don’t do a whole lot with defense during camp,” Buffington said. “We had trouble scoring last year, so that’s where we put our emphasis. A lot of shooting drills and then team stuff with offense.”

That will be especially important considering the Lions lost their leading scorer, Loren Schlichting, to graduation.

“We did lose a really good player, but we do have some good kids back, and the vast majority of them,” Buffington said. “We’ve also got some kids that got a lot of playing time as freshmen, enough that they’ll help us on the varsity. They’ve played some and they’re getting bigger and they’re getting better.”

And reinforcements are on the way.

“We’ve got a good group of freshmen coming in that are going to be OK,” Buffington said. “They haven’t just been running around like chickens with their heads cut off, they’ve picked some things up pretty quickly and the older kids have helped them with that. When you come in and you’re competing against the varsity kids a lot, that’s going to make you better.”

The Lions also held a camp last week for grades 4-8, with 12 players taking part.

“We had a good week with them, a fun week,” Buffington said. “Hopefully we can continue that and keep building that up.

“... The varsity kids helped out, which is always cool. It’s good for me to see the older kids teach the younger kids some of the things I’ve been teaching them. That was fun.”

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