Fort Mill Times

Summer hoops let local prep teams sharpen skills

Intense summer days on the basketball court can lead to easier winter nights come December and January for local high school teams.

The state High School League allows about a month in the summer for high school teams to schedule up to 10 dates if they want to work on their programs. It’s the equivalent of football teams practicing in May for about three weeks.

Fort Mill took on the likes of Rock Hill, Chesterfield and Andrew Jackson last week and won all three games.

“We get to play against outside competition, and (the players) get to see game time competition,” said Fort Mill head coach Dwayne Hartsoe.

Hartsoe said playing games now makes things easier for his team come November, when the season starts. There isn’t as much pressure in June, and it helps to build team unity without spending a ton of money, he said.

“Team camps are so expensive,” Hartsoe said.

Hartsoe added that it also can help have players turn a corner in their games. Case in point, a couple of seasons ago, Harrison Lancaster really blossomed in the summer league; Lancaster went on to help lead Fort Mill during the regular season.

“This gives kids a chance to get more minutes (on the court),” he said. “This is a big summer for us because we got a lot of JV (junior varsity) kids coming up.”

Other teams use the month to get in much needed practices, as the Fort Mill Lady Jackets are doing.

The Lady Jackets have been holding practices for two hours a day this month and will be heading to basketball camp at Presbyterian College this week. They have a few play dates scheduled for the week after.

Nation Ford boys’ team is going to camp at N.C. State University and playing a summer schedule as well.

Falcons head coach Michael Tew said having a team at camp helps his groups bond.

“There are no outside distractions,” he said. “It gives us a great opportunity to see different types of team and different types of play.”

Tew said he is hoping that the summer gives him an idea of what he has on the roster going into the 2014-2015 season.

“What we are hoping for is to get in as much work as we can,” he said.