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Ranger Give & Go Gives Young Athletes the Tools to Improve

August 7, 2012

Olivia Lacoss, who suits up for Brownington in the winter, is one of the players seeing her game improve at the Ranger camp. Photo Mike Olmstead

ORLEANS–The Annual Ranger Give & Go Basketball Camp is in full swing at the Don Harter Memorial Gymnasium.
The camp is run by the Lady Rangers head coach Mark Tinker, and has been going steady for nearly a decade.
"I started the camp when I took over the Varsity program here because I felt we needed something for the feeder program and I up and started it."
The camp is open to both boys and girls, and is split into two age groups; Campers in grades 3 through 5 attend in the morning and 6 through 8 in the afternoon.
Olivia Lacoss is one of the campers in the afternoon sessions, and is enjoying herself while seeing improvement in her game.
"It is fun," said the Brownington hoopster. "It helps me with my moves and I think my shot has improved because I am actually shooting it right."
It is not just the basics like shooting and passing that the kids work on as Tinker explains.
"We are trying to give them the fundamentals obviously and you are not going to teach them everything in a week, but we try to introduce them to some things that the ones that want to can take them back to their team or work on them on their own.
"We also tie in what we try to teach them skill-wise into some game-type things and some competitions."
Much like any camp, scrimmaging is a part of the process, but Tinker takes a different approach to how his campers do so.
"We do it three-on-three instead of five-on-five because it forces everyone to be involved. Five-on-five, a lot of times your one or two dominant kids take over and the rest of the kids are spectators running up and down the floor. So we try to do half-court stuff, which forces everyone to have to touch the ball and be involved."
They will eventually move up to five-on-five, but usually it is dictated by the situation and numbers.
Staffing the camp along with Tinker is the girls’ j/v coach Joe Houston, some current varsity players and even a few alumni that the coach was able to wrangler up, Paige Wells and Kylie Atwood.
Atwood, as most know, will be suiting up for the UVM Catamounts this season, and recently returned from a month long camp of her own with her new program.
"I was gone for the whole month of July, and they had me doing a workout in the morning and we played pick-up in the evenings. This week I am doing more of the same here, and lifting after camp is over."
Atwood attended the camp as a youngster, and spoke about how important the camp is for the area players.
"It helps them develop and work on their mechanics, as well as all the little things that matter."
Wells too will be playing basketball this winter.
After taking a her freshman year off, she’s set to join the squad at VTC where averaging a double-double is not out of the question.
The camp runs through the rest of the week, and if the faces on the campers I saw are any indication, it should be fun-filled next three days for everyone involved

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