Summer league games provide players with game-time experience and coaches a peek at the talent on the court
PORT ORCHARD — If teams are built in the offseason, then area girls basketball programs are on the rise thanks to summer league.
Summer league games give upcoming players more time in real-game situations as well as build chemistry between new and returning players.
For coaches like John Standridge, who took over head coaching duties at Bremerton from Ashley Robinson, it’s an opportunity to see what his youth can do while put his fingerprint on the program.
“We’re not where we need to be yet but I’m seeing a lot of hope,” he said.
An average of 18 players have dedicated their time to Standridge at practice, the most he’s had as a coach, as the girls have matched up against boys in order to get better.
Standridge is a substitute in the Bremerton School District, and is retired military, and has been an assistant coach at Bremerton so he already has a rapport with the incoming freshmen.
“I love the culture there,” he said. “I know the talent’s there. We just got to find the way to get that work ethic and commitment, if I can get those two things (Bremerton) will be back.”
Second-year coach Scott Neumann of Central Kitsap won’t have to spend three-quarters of his season implementing an offense and defense like he did last season. The Cougars have played in 14 games so far and Neumann said the summer league games offer the one thing that young teams need — playing time.
“For starters, it’s a chance to look at the young players and see what kids are coming in and where they might fit in,” he said. “For us we’re able to implement a few more things that we weren’t able to add last year. More pieces to the puzzle and that’s good.”
South Kitsap coach CJ Scott takes over from Mike Allen. It’s his first high school girls coaching gig but he’s a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the coaching profession having coached swimming and volleyball. He coached his son’s, Aaron, AAU basketball team as well.
Scott said he and assistant coach Josh Morton had talked about coaching for a while and when the opportunity arose, they jumped at the chance.
“We were like ‘Let’s just do it, let’s go for it,’” he said.
Scott said their goal is to get more girls involved because “we want more girls doing multiple sports.”
South Kitsap incoming senior Grace Glisson said it was Scott who first introduced her to the sport of basketball. Glisson was a fifth grader at Sydney Glen Elementary when Scott was her P.E. teacher and talked her into playing and she grew to love the sport.
“He was my first coach ever,” she said. “He was the only reason I played basketball.”
Glisson added she’s happy to finish her high school career with Scott as her coach. ‘
“Senior night will be sad,” she said.