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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette North Side's Brashawn Bassett goes up for a shot against Snider's Grant Brown during Monday night's game as part of a summer league game featuring local high school teams.

  • Rachel Von Stroup | The Journal Gazette Snider’s Elijah Wimby tries to get around North Side’s Brashawn Bassett on Monday night.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 1:00 am

Diverse styles on display in summer hoops league

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

It may be the middle of June, and there are no pep bands, cheerleaders or announcers to be seen, but for three straight Mondays at Snider it's basketball season once more. 

And while two games run at a time on the Panthers' home and practice courts, the league includes SAC opponents and area schools Churubusco, Leo and Woodlan.

“What we're all trying to do is try to get as many different styles as possible: big schools, little schools, teams that try to play fast, teams that try to play slow, just so that we have an idea of what we have to work with,” Churubusco coach Chris Paul said before his team's first game of the night against South Side on Monday, the second of three nights of league play. 

Last summer, the Eagles had played in a similar league at Manchester.

“Our conference is a lot different from South Side in the SAC,” Paul said, referring to the NECC. “Our conference is a little bit slower-paced than the SAC would be. It gives us an opportunity to go up against a lot of the better teams.”

For recently hired Wayne coach Byron Pickens, these summer games are his first opportunity to coach his players in a game situation.

“We've had a few practices, and the boys have been very receptive,” Pickens said of his new players. “They're wanting to work. I'm really excited to get going.”

In addition to his new role at Wayne, Pickens, who was previously an assistant at Northrop, coaches the Indy Heat AAU team with Snider coach Jeremy Rauch.

When Rauch heard that Pickens had taken a new job, he invited the Generals to join the Monday night league, which features six games a night, with each team playing twice. 

“I just want to get them to buy in to what the coaching staff is trying to do here,” Pickens said. “We want to be an energetic team. We want to showcase our athleticism, and so just getting those guys to buy in to what we're doing.”

The atmosphere is more relaxed than at any regular-season game: teams play in practice jerseys, and the families and fans in attendance wander freely between the two games.

Many teams take the court without key players who have commitments to other sports and teams. When a Snider player got sick on the court during the first game against North Side on Monday, the game was suspended and wasn't resumed after clean-up, and South Side and Wayne took the court as scheduled at 7 p.m. 

“You don't always know who you're going to have,” said Rauch, who was missing many of his varsity returners, many of who are also in the midst of training for football. “This is our currency in some ways. You have to be able to come to our workouts to come to this. It's a good opportunity to see some other guys in action.”

But players and coaches still take it to heart when they lose. Churubusco, for example, beat Leo and Woodlan the first Monday and then built a first-half lead against the Archers on Monday but lost 59-53. 

“The second half, we didn't play much defense, and that led to them getting transition points, and they really tore us apart,” Churubusco's Jackson Paul said. “It's definitely a different pace. You're constantly running up and down the court, which you really don't get into.

“We're going to be playing smaller schools, so it's nice to get out here and play some big competition, so when we go up against 2A schools, we'll be ready to handle anything.”