Summer hoops heat up at TRM
As the temperature continues to draw closer and closer to the century mark, now hardly seems like the time to be focusing on basketball.
Like most high school sports, it is an activity that is becoming more and more a yearlong event.
With a state rule that limits high school teams to just one team camp competition, squads better make sure they find the right one.
Both T.R. Miller Tigers coach Rob Atkinson and Lady Tigers coach Ron Jackson think they have found the right one. That one was held at the T.R. Miller Gym last Friday through Sunday.
"We went to one last year in Tallahassee, but I didn't feel it was a great experience for our kids. After that, Coach Jackson and I talked about having a team camp of our own. That way we get to run it how we want, we get to stay at home, we save an entry fee and other teams pay entry fees to us," Atkinson said. "I think it was a big success. There were a lot of people who came and they brought some money in to local businesses."
Ten boys teams and eight girls teams participated in the inaugural event.
"What really helps us pull something like this off is we've got the facilities. We've got three gyms at the school and we had games going on in each one," Atkinson said. "Sometimes when you go to camps like this you've got games going on at multiple sites throughout a community or area. We promised the schools who came we would keep all the games here at the school and they wouldn't have to bounce back and forth from location to location," Atkinson said.
Participants in this year's tournament came from the south half of Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
"The Florida teams have an advantage at camps like this in that they can play unlimited tournaments throughout the summer although I didn't feel the Florida teams were that far ahead of us. A lot of those schools will play 50, maybe 60 games. For us, this was it in terms of summer games," Atkinson said.
With the inaugural T.R. Miller Summer Tournament in the books, plans are already in the works for next
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"We may look at changing some things. We may go with separating the boys and girls by playing them on different weekends. That would help us to be able to bring in additional teams for both. We may also look at having both a varsity and junior varsity divsion," Atkinson said.
Atkinson said it took a tremendous amount of work to pull off the event.
"We had to go through the process of finding the teams to play, do the scheduling plus finding officials and other tournament workers. Then of course there were the games we played. It's not easy getting kids to come into a hot gym in the summer like this although I thought our mental focus to that was pretty good," Atkinson said. "The officiating is something I'd like to commend. I know they (the officials) got tired running up and down the floor in those hot gyms, but all in all they did a good job."
While their team play is done for the summer, the work for the T.R. Miller players is not. Both the boys and girls will have weightlifting sessions throughout the summer. Some of the players will also be participating in an individual skills camp in Selma.