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FDA girls basketball camp draws crowd

The future of Fort Dale Academy’s girls basketball program looks very promising.

And if the numbers that attended the school’s ninth annual girls basketball camp this week has any bearing on the program’s future, then players will be easy to come by.

Sixty girls attended the camp held at the school’s gymnasium to learn or freshen up on their hard court skills. FDA Athletic Director Reggie Mantooth said the camp went very smoothly.

&uot;It’s going very good,&uot; Mantooth said. &uot;We had the biggest turnout we’ve ever had. Everybody’s enjoyed it.&uot;

Mantooth said he doesn’t know what caused such an increase in numbers at this year’s camp, but welcomes as many youths that are interested in learning the game. He said the camp averages about 40 girls each year.

&uot;You never know what’s a good week in the summer with the children having so many different things going on,&uot; Mantooth said. &uot;We’ve always done it late in the summer. This seems to be the best week.&uot;

Campers were taught proper passing, dribbling, ball handling and shooting techniques during the five-day camp. They also had the opportunity to play scrimmages and other games.

&uot;We also try to do a lot of fun-type games where we compete against each other,&uot; Mantooth said. &uot;We have some new players this year, but everybody catches on real well. We want them to enjoy it and have a good time.&uot;

Sarah Ellen Gardner, a 1999 graduate of FDA and a member of the Lady Eagles’ 1999 state championship team that finished a perfect 27-0, was one of five coaches helping during the camp. She said the children on hand caught on to the fundamentals quickly.

&uot;We’ve had most of them in camp for several years so they’re really getting the hang of it,&uot; she said. &uot;I think we’re going to have some good teams in the future. The younger girls are also having a good time. We mostly teach them fundamentals and they’re catching on real quick.&uot;

Gardner believes the future of FDA’s girls basketball program is bright.

&uot;It’s been a really good week,&uot; she said. &uot;This is one of the biggest camps I’ve ever coached and I’ve been here seven years. I think we’ve got a really good group of girls and a lot of good potential coming up.&uot;

Mantooth believes holding camps will help better the Lady Eagles’ program in the future.

&uot;We’re trying to build our program for the future, but it also gets the young girls involved in basketball and hopefully having some fun so they’ll continue playing in the future,&uot; Mantooth said.

As for how long FDA will continue to hold summer camps, as long as Mantooth’s around, he said every summer. The school also holds a boys camp in June.

&uot;As long as I’m here, we’ll always have it,&uot; Mantooth said. &uot;I think it’s something the children look forward to every summer. It’s something as a coach that we enjoy doing each year.&uot;

FDA junior varsity girls basketball coach Johnny Mack Brown, Fort Dale graduate and former basketball player Crystal Waters and current FDA hard court standout Frances Watts also helped coach during the camp.