Brownstown boys, girls keep busy with basketball


Brownstown Central’s hardwood is getting a workout this summer.

The high school gym has been hosting a plethora of basketball-related workouts and drills.

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Youth camp takes to the floor from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., while the high school teams also are practicing as early as 6:45 a.m. and ending as late as 5 p.m.

In the morning camp sessions, Brownstown Central boys varsity coach and camp director Dave Benter and his high school staff work with the student-athletes.

Sixth- and seventh-grade boys go from 9 to 10:30 a.m. before the eighth- and ninth-graders run from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Benter said he installs high school offenses and defenses throughout the camp, which started May 31 and ends Tuesday.

He said elementary-age campers had their sessions in May.

“As (the kids) get older, we get a little more complex with our offenses,” Benter said. “We start putting in some of what the high school runs. At the younger ages, especially incoming fourth and fifth, we keep it basic. In all of the groups, we work on the fundamentals — ball handling, some shooting, a lot of defensive fundamentals like how to handle ball screens, transition defense, that kind of thing.”

The one-on-one and group time pays off for the Braves’ program. Marty Young (junior varsity coach), Brandon Allman (freshman) and Kevin Gwin (varsity assistant) are among those working with the campers.

“It’s good for our coaching staff to work with three or four grades,” Benter said. “We bring them back in for some practices after our camp ends. We then play eight to 10 games in two days (at Hanover College). We’ve done that for about 20 years, and it’s been really good for us.”

Incoming Brownstown Central Middle School eighth-grader Connor Gwin said it was his third time attending the camp.

“I’ve enjoyed it so much that I just like coming here to get better,” he said. “We worked on defense, and we go over plays and scrimmage. I’m just trying to get better.”

Levi Stahl, an incoming freshman, also has attended the camp multiple times.

“I just love the game of basketball,” he said. “I like playing the sport. We work on defensive stance, how to communicate better offensively and we run the court a lot.”

Benter estimated between 85 and 90 kids attended the camps across six grades.

While he encourages multisport activity, Benter feels it’s important for kids to get their hands on a basketball outside of the season.

“Basketball is such a skilled game,” he said. “I think it’s tough sometimes to just take an athlete that doesn’t work on their game and turn them into a basketball player. You can take a kid that maybe isn’t as athletic but spends a lot of time working on their game and turn them into a basketball player. It’s important that they’re playing more than just when the coaches have them in the season.”

In the afternoons, between 45 and 50 third- through seventh-grade girls are taking the floor. They started May 29 and conclude tonight.

Third- and fourth-graders go from noon to 1:30 p.m., and fifth through seventh grades go from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Braves varsity head coach Karla Rieckers directs the camp and has the help of her current players and sixth-grade coach and former player Kourtney Settle.

“Summer is really good for my younger kids because it gives me more time to work with them one-on-one and as a group,” Rieckers said. “During the season, I can make it to some of their games, but I never really get to instruct them the way I can at summer camp. When they get to high school, that transition is easier for them.”

Like Benter, Rieckers focuses on the fundamentals with the kids.

“With the younger age group, we try to focus on fundamentals,” Rieckers said. “We do more dribbling drills. Dribbling, passing, shooting form is with the third grade. With the fourth and fifth grade, we push them a little more. We teach them some different drills.”

Harley Toppe, 10, said she has been to the camp a couple of times.

“I wanted to learn more and more about basketball,” she said. “I’ve worked on ball-handling and how to shoot it right. I like how they show us to do the figure-8 (drill). The high school players help me get better.”

Fourth-grader Marley Warren said she wants to get better in every part of her game.

“Basketball is fun,” she said. “I like dribbling. They help me get better at dribbling at camp. I think the coaches are helping me get better. I want to be better at shooting.”

Rieckers said she starts installing offenses with the sixth- and seventh-graders.

The camp ends tonight with a skills competition.

Incoming sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders will then play three games Wednesday in Corydon.