WAGRAM — The first regular season high school basketball game won’t be played until winter, but the screech of sneakers sliding across the hardwood can be heard in mid-June inside the Wagram Recreation Center.
Scotland boys basketball coach Michael Malpass wrapped up his youth summer camp on Friday, culminating a week of activities that began last Monday.
Malpass said he was pleased with the turnout and the energy the kids brought to the court.
“We had about eight or nine more than last year, so we had good numbers,” he said.
The participants competed in team and individual drills, competitions and contests, with several scoring hardware to highlight their accomplishments.
Malpass’s daughter, Makayla, and Alex Levario won the skills competition, which focused on two-handed dribbling. Haley Creed and Bryan Miller won the hotshot event by sinking shots from all over the floor, and Hunter Honeycutt and Cooper Southerland proved to be the most consistent from the charity stripe, winning the free throw competition.
Honeycutt also stroked it from beyond the arc, as he, along with Turner Bounds, won the 3-point contest.
Aside from hosting the camp, Malpass is also busy on the Scotland boys basketball summer circuit.
Varsity, junior varsity and ninth-grade teams have convened at Scotland Gym the past few weeks to participate in intersquad summer league games, and they have also traveled regionally to compete against other schools in surrounding counties.
Last week, the Scots traveled to West Bladen High, playing the host team as well as Red Springs and West Brunswick. Michael Yancy, JeNoah McRae, Tim Williams, Justin McRae, Daekwon Tyson, Trey Dixon, Niem Ratliffe and Cedric Everette provided a mix of experience and youth that Malpass hopes can gel together before the start of the season.
In the intersquad matches, players from each of Scotland’s programs were pooled together and they were drafted to one of five teams. Each squad has a mixture of varsity, junior varsity, and ninth-grade players, and there is a senior on each that serves as the captain.
“We do incentives every day, so we work on fundamentals within the games,” Malpass said. “For instance, one day they’ll get an extra point for scoring off a ball screen. There’s incentives in our summer league to improve fundamentally.”
The teams are named after current NBA franchises, and the games are split up into two halves that last 13 minutes each. Currently, the Cavs lead the standings with a 4-1 record. The Spurs are second at 3-1, the Heat and Hornets are 2-3, and the Warriors are 1-4.
Scotland is traveling to N.C. State University on Thursday for more summer league action. Around 20 other schools are expected to attend as well. The Scots will stay in Raleigh through the weekend and head back to Laurinburg on Sunday.
Scotland will attempt to replace two valuable seniors from last year’s varsity program in Jeremias Easterling and Travis Miles. Easterling, the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder will attend Sandhills Community College this fall, and Miles, the third-leading scorer, has decided to pursue a career in the U.S. Navy.
Malpass hopes this year’s senior class can fill the shoes of the now-departed duo.
“The reason we do the summer league is try to get them to learn how to lead their teams and make younger guys better,” Malpass said. “We’re looking to see our older guys learn to be better leaders and hold guys accountable for the concepts that we believe in.”
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.