North and South Stokes completed the first annual Gateway Girl’s Basketball League at the YWCA in Winston-Salem on Wednesday evening. Each team played up to eight games over a nine day stretch and league organizer Brian Robinson, the head coach of Bishop McGuinness, deemed it a great success.
“We decided to put this league together and give teams options of playing in summer league instead of going to an expensive team camp. I thought each team grew and was able to get better over the last week. Next year we hope to open it to the boys and give them the option too,” he said.
West Stokes turned the heads of several coaches during opposing team scrimmages. The Lady Cats played Winston-Salem Prep, North Davidson, North Wilkes, Bishop McGuinness, Starmount, R.J. Reynolds and the Vikings.
The Wildcats lost five seniors off of last year’s team that finished 12-9, including Winston-Salem State signee and exchange student Eugenia Marcelli. They finished up on Wednesday with strong play against North Davidson and R.J. Reynolds.
“It’s important that we understand June isn’t a month we keep up with wins and losses,” said Wildcat coach Dillon Bobbitt. “Our team will be young and with a different dynamic this year. The girls have taken ownership of the team this summer. We’ve faced a lot of zone and different offensive sets and it has helped us learn how to play and understand the bigger picture of our team. We did well and have some momentum to go with.”
The Vikings participated and battled Reynolds, Forbush, Starmount, Bishop McGuinness and the Wildcats. North graduated eight seniors off of a team that won nine games last year. They return guard Addie Bryant and forward Leann Sessoms and will rely heavily on the rising seniors for their leadership and scoring.
“We will be extremely young and inexperienced,” said Viking coach Scott Smith. “I just want our girls to go out and work hard and get better each time they hit the floor. We want them to do the small fundamental things and work for the bigger picture. I thought playing in the summer league this year allowed our younger girls to see what the speed and competition will be like. I’m very pleased with the progress we have made over the last three weeks.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.