When Ally Nichols was a young basketball camper, she looked up to the Montrose High School players, thinking about how more experienced they are in the sport and wanting to be like them one day.
Fast forward to today, and now Nichols — an MHS senior and standout on last season’s Lady Indians squad —is exactly in a position that her role models were just a few years ago.
“It was always cool to learn from the high school kids,” said Nichols. “We always looked up to them and wanted to be like them. … I thought we would never be in these shoes. They always seemed so much older and better.”
The annual Montrose High School girls basketball youth camp was held for third-through eighth-graders from Monday to Wednesday at Lloyd McMillan Gymnasium.
MHS head coach Steve Skiff and his assistant coaches and players instructed the young girls on the fundamentals of basketball, as well as the sportsmanship of the game. Following the three-day clinic, the young girls received a camp T-shirt and prize.
Children were split into grade and ability levels to make certain fair and equal playing time is given.
This latter aspect was most enjoyable for the high school players. Senior Hadley Greiner said by doing so, the player-coaches were able to teach the third-graders fundamentals while also showing the older ones proper technique and footwork.
Fellow senior Caraline Burwell said this time around the camp was from a different aspect.
“It’s fun to experience this all over again,” said Burwell.
About 40 campers took to the hardwood over the three days — a number similar to last year’s camp, said Skiff.
The Montrose coach praised his players’ work, saying he saw their excitement in passing on the game of basketball to the younger ones.
“They get fired up by getting to be helpers,” Skiff said. “The young campers enjoy being taught by the high school kids.”
He also was able to see a future for the program and said that “basketball is alive and well in Montrose.”
“There’s a lot of great players out here who want to work hard and get better,” said Skiff.
Montrose’s Kennadie Minerich had a similar thought as she and her fellow players believe they saw who’ll one day put on a red and white MHS jersey.
“You see how excited they are that they’re going to be a part of the program one day,” she said. “... I hope they can take away the excitement of the game and passion for it.”
But the ultimate experience that the Lady Indian players got from the camp was seeing those young girls refine their skills in a short amount of time.
“It’s cool to see them improve because we were all there once,” Nichols said.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.