Pen High introduces under-13 hoop league

An under-13 girls basketball league will hit the court at Penticton Secondary School for eight weeks, beginning the end of September.

An under-13 girls basketball league will hit the court at Penticton Secondary School for eight weeks, beginning the end of September.

Chris Terris, a Lakers basketball coach, is putting it together to create interest in the sport and develop skills at a younger age. He also wants to give an opportunity to students in his basketball skills course, which is new, to give back by volunteering to coach younger players.

Terris said while the basketball programs at Pen High are strong, having outstanding coaches, the skill development and understanding of the game in the top programs in places like Kelowna and Kamloops allowed those cities to jump ahead.

“They don’t have more athletic kids, better facilities or stronger instruction,” said Terris. “Their kids’ compete level isn’t any higher. I’d argue that often the only thing keeping our kids hanging in there is their competitive natures. Their kids simply start playing competitively at a younger age. The focus of this course is both skill development and improving their basketball IQs.”

Terris intends to focus entire classes on one skill like passing or defending off the ball and stressing technique. He hopes this will be beneficial for junior and senior players. Students in the basketball skills classes will volunteer a minimum of 20 hours to coaching or refereeing at the middle and elementary schools.

For the class, Terris had nearly 90 students register. Funding unfortunately only allowed for one block of 30 students. The plan for the league is to play on Sundays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. with 40 Grade 6 and 7 girls. They will be divided into four teams with an hour of skill development and a 30-minute game.  The basketball skills students will coach the players and part of their assessment is to build quality practice plans that engage and provide quality skill instruction.

“It’s no secret that we learn at a completely different level when we have to teach skills to others, so there will be an obvious benefit for our student-coaches,” said Terris. “They’ll also referee the games after a couple of training sessions with our director of referees, Dave Kroschinsky.”

Those wanting more information can contact Terris at cterris63@gmail.com.