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Coaches get early team look

ORRVILLE — Eight high school basketball coaches got their first looks at the future Wednesday in Keith High’s third annual team camp.

“It was the first time to really play competitive ball,” Selma’s Woodie Jackson said. “The kids are competing for the school, so these mean something to them.”

Teams from host Keith, Selma, Southside, Wilcox Central, Holt of Tuscaloosa, Demopolis, Greene County and Sumter County played games of two halves. Each team had the opportunity to play three games.

The game-like scrimmages gave each coach the opportunity to assess his squad’s strengths and weaknesses along with give each player a chance to tune his skills.

“It was really competitive for us,” Keith coach Tommy Tisdale said, pointing to his team’s youthful players. “I’ve got three players who will be in the ninth grade next year and one that will be in the 10th grade.”

Southside coach Cedric Brown said his team is working on one phase of the game this early.

“I got a chance to see what we are coming in with,” he said. “We’re missing three of our players down low right now, so we are trying to focus on defense.”

He said he has only had the players for a short time before the team camp. “Our preparation time was a little off,” Brown said.

Mark Dukes of Wilcox Central also said his team had only two workouts before the team camp.

“This was our practice,” he said, looking at his squad’s changes. “We graduated seven players, and four of those were starters. So our success will depend on how the young kids come along and know the system.”

Dukes said the team camp helps his younger players catch on.

“It gives them more hands-on experience,” he said.

Jackson said the Selma players will be in Birmingham next Saturday for more games, then at Thomasville the next weekend, then the University of Alabama team camp June 26-28.

“This will keep them busy this summer until school starts,” he said. “They’ll learn agility and the basics now. When school starts, we do weight training.”

Tisdale said Keith will play 24 games this summer, with the next games at Calhoun. Southside and Wilcox Central are at Greensboro today.