Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

Baker basketball league wraps up

July 13, 2006

Each summer hundreds of area high school basketball players fill the Baldwin City gyms as part of the Baker Summer League.

The annual basketball league finished Tuesday with the high school boys' games. The games were played at Baker University's Collins Center and at Baldwin High School.

For the past five weeks, the gyms have been busy most Monday and Tuesday nights with high school teams. No team is allowed to have its actual coach helping them, but they still work on becoming better.

"Anytime that kids can get out and play in a controlled setting, it helps them," BHS boys' coach Eric Toot said. "It would be a lot better if Kansas had the same rules as Missouri, where the coaches could actually sit with the team. But overall, it is a good experience."

BHS senior Kelsey Verhaeghe thought the 40-minute games help each team see where its strengths and weaknesses are during the summer, which she really likes.

"I think it's helpful, because we can see where we are at as a team," Verhaeghe said. "It gives us an idea of what we need to work on also."

BHS senior Caj Kueffer really enjoys bonding with his teammates during the summer.

"It gets the guys together and gives us a reason to play," Kueffer said. "It's great fun to play with these guys."

Toot said the players enjoy competing against other teams during the summer.

"I think they enjoy it and enjoy playing the game," Toot said. "It's more enjoyable when you can play against other kids rather than your teammates during the summer. I think they like that part of it."

Verhaeghe enjoys the freedom that the players have during the league.

"We get to mess around and do what we want," Verhaeghe said. "It's a lot of fun to play together again."

Toot said he wishes the boys could run the plays they will run during the season, but the lack of time with the team hinders that thought.

"For us this year, it's been a struggle because we don't have anything in," Toot said. "Next year will be more beneficial because we can actually run our stuff. This year, with me being the new coach, we haven't been able to do that."

Although scores are kept during the games and coaches are watching, the purpose of the league is fun.

"You wouldn't do it if it wasn't fun," Kueffer said. "It definitely makes you better."

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