Chips, Sabers polish skills in camp

MANISTEE — Manistee High School was bustling with basketball on Monday as sneakers squeaked, whistles echoed, and scoreboards lit up for the first time this summer.

Scores, however, don’t hold much weight in late July.

“I don’t even look at it,” said Manistee girls coach Todd Erickson. “You can’t forget that it’s summer basketball. You’re looking to grow, and looking to see how much you’ve gained from when you were here last year.”

Erickson and the Chippewas are hosting their annual varsity girls camp, which started Sunday and ends today. This year’s installment consists of nine teams, including Manistee and Manistee Catholic Central, and has representation from all four class sizes.

Manistee’s Emma Burns elevates for a shot against Salem on Monday at the Chippewas’ varsity girls basketball camp, which started Sunday and ends today. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Emma Burns elevates for a shot against Salem on Monday at the Chippewas’ varsity girls basketball camp, which started Sunday and ends today. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Each team is guaranteed to play at least seven games (two 20-minute halves) over the course of three days, with the final session running from 9 to noon this morning. Monday afternoon didn’t lack the spirit of competition as Manistee played Salem and MCC took on Byron Area, but the players and coaches kept the mission in perspective.

“At some points you look at it, but it’s not all about the score,” said incoming Manistee junior Emilee Kott. “We’re here to get better as a team, and work together — have each other’s backs and play hard.”

Manistee returns nearly the entire district championship squad that went 22-0 last year before suffering its first loss of the season in a regional semifinal against Sparta. Erickson said the summer provides a perfect opportunity to gauge themselves against tough teams.

“To me, it’s about playing some good competition,” he said after Monday’s test against Salem. “Salem is a really good team, so we get a lot out of that. The biggest thing I’m looking for is who plays the best with who in certain situations, offensively and defensively.”

Similar sentiments were echoed on the Sabers’ bench. Like Erickson, MCC coach Terry Walker is set to begin his second year at the helm after winning a district title.

“There’s so many little things that make up the game of basketball, and we need to work a lot on those,” he said after his team’s game against Byron. “It’s what it’s all about in the summer, and it’s almost better if they don’t put a score on the scoreboard. 

“I can get pretty competitive keeping score, but you really have to focus on the little things,” he added. “I try to channel my thoughts on those areas, and I’m starting to see improvement in the girls.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.