Summer also means basketball to these players

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Spruce Mountain coach Zachary Keene speaks to his players who volunteered to help him put on the clinic.

By Tony Blasi, Sports Editor

JAY — Emily Goding could be at the movies, the beach or spending a week or two vacationing somewhere in the United States.

But she, along with the rest of the Spruce Mountain girls’ varsity basketball, has chosen to volunteer at Phoenix coach Zachary Keene’s summer basketball clinic for elementary and middle school students.

The six-week camp drew participants from all ages to the Phoenix Dome.

Goding said it is time well spent teaching children the game of basketball.

“I just really like helping the little kids and getting to know them and let them be better than they are now,” Goding said. “I get better also because I get to do all the drills with them.”

Besides alumni such as Alex Bessey and Nicole Hamblin helping out, the rest of team joined in and they include: Jaycee Cole, Emily White, Hanna St. Pierre, Haley Turcotte, Hailee Perkins, Lauren Cornelio, Morgan Dalton, Calley Baker, Kaylin Knowlton, Anneka Dubord, Alison Dubord and Mikenzie Parker.

Spruce Mountain coach Zachary Keene speaks to his players who volunteered to help him put on the clinic.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

“There was anywhere between 12 and 16 youths every week we did it,” Keene said. “It was very good.

“It helps with the feeder program, but I think it helps the youth connect with…I think the youth look up to the varsity players at the high school.

“They are kind of starstruck the first week, but it helps build that relationship, which I think is important to perform the basketball skills that we do.

“I think they got a lot of out it.”

That could also be said of his volunteers, who also had a great deal of fun mentoring the participants.

“A lot of these seniors are in new positions,” Keene said. “They have to lead; they can’t sit back and watch.

“For them to help lead the youth through these things, I was happy how they handled it. They did a really good job.”

Mary Hamblin dribbles the ball during a drill at a basketball clinic.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Avery Bessey, 10, and Hannah Jewett, 9, sure knew how to handle the ball and take a layup.

“I am nine, but I am about to turn 10,” Jewett, who has been playing hoop since she was five, said. “It is fun and I get to be with friends.”

Jewett loves learning every facet of the game.

“That you can learn cool moves and it is fun to know them,” she added.

There is a perfectly good reason why Bessey likes basketball.

“Because it is my favorite sport and I like to watch the NBA,” she said. “Here, we can have fun and we are with our friends.”

What more can you ask for on a warm summer’s evening.

Participants dribble the ball during a drill at Spruce Mountain High School during basketball clinic organized by Phoenix girls’ basketball coach Zachary Keene in Jay on Monday afternoon.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

A participant is being cheered on during a drill in the Phoenix Dome.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Avery Bessey, right, and another participant dribble the ball in Jay on Monday evening.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Spruce Mountain graduate and volunteer Alex Bessey keeps an eye on Avery Bessey, left, and Hannah Jewett during a basketball clinic in Jay.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Spruce Mountain volunteers keep an eye on participants during drills. The volunteers, along with coach Zachary Keene, provided instruction for elementary and middle school students.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Spruce Mountain player Emily Goding participates in the dribbling drill at the Phoenix Dome on Monday.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Mary Hamblin launches a shot from the free-throw line.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Hannah Jewett rolls the ball as her friend, Avery Bessey, watches during a drill outside the Phoenix Dome in Jay.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Spruce Mountain graduate Alex Bessey smiles as a participant takes a shot during a basketball clinic in Jay.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

Adria McHugh is all smiles after sinking a basket to win a prize at a basketball clinic.

(Anthony Blasi/LFA)

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