You don’t need a crystal ball to glimpse into the future of Coupeville High School basketball. Just stop by the middle school gym on Thursday evenings or Saturday mornings.
A record number of kids, over 100, are participating in the Boys and Girls Club youth program this season.
This winter the players have been offered something new, a clinic every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Led by Bob Martin and a slew of volunteers, children from kindergarten through the fifth grade are treated to a weekly session of fun and fundamentals.
The clinics, which began Jan. 17 and will run 11 weeks, attract about 40 kids each week.
Martin said, “My hopes are to teach the basics to the younger players so they can build their knowledge of basketball and are more prepared when they enter middle school.”
One of the reasons he started the clinics, Martin said, was to help out the high-school players who double as youth-league coaches. Because of their own commitment to basketball, they couldn’t practice with their youth teams during the week.
In addition, the clinics are about building basic skills, increasing basketball knowledge and staying fit, as well as introducing the kids to their future coaches and P.E. teachers and volunteers from the community, Martin said.
Each week Martin tries to incorporate different volunteers, including members of the high-school and middle-school teams; boys varsity coach Anthony Smith; Willie, Sheri and James Smith; and middle school coaches Sara Stuurmans and Brett Smedley.
Martin called the high-school and middle-school players coaching the younger kids a “win-win type of environment.”
He added, “The high-school students have made this program a huge success. They have attended practices, games, clinics, and school, and most have managed to stay on top of their homework. They have many skills to teach the younger kids. The kids look up to the kids.”
Others, Martin said, are also instrumental in the success of the program. Eileen Stone, director of the Boys and Girls Club, is vital and often works behind the scenes, not asking for recognition, and Ryan King, the gym supervisor, is a key asset.
Martin said the program has been blessed with the help of volunteers and it could use some help funding equipment and uniforms.
He said, “We have over 100 players and 14 teams, our basketballs need replacing and we could use uniforms that can be re-used from season to season.”
The program uses 40 basketballs ($20 to $30 each) and needs eight uniforms per its 14 teams ($20 to $30 each).
Among the volunteers who help are Pat Kelley, Greg White, Scott Stuurmans, Madeline Strasburg, Katie Kiel, Bree Messner, Caleb Valko, Wiley Hesselgrave, Britney Korzan, Rhiannon Ellsworth, Kacie Kiel, Aaron Burdge, Kylie Burdge, Joel Walstad, Hailey Hammer, Makana Stone, CJ Roberts, Aaron Trumbull, Nick Streubel, Jai’Lysa Hoskins, Julia Felici, Bethany Walstad, Haley Marx, Lauren Escalle, Amanda Fabrizi, Dalton Martin, Cole Payne and Oscar Liquidano.
Cue Moose Moran in 2022: “Now let’s meet the starters for the Wolves. At one guard Hank Milnes…”