Developing young players has been at the forefront of Roseburg High School coach Dane Tornell’s vision for girls basketball in the city.
He has put this into action over the last few weeks, opening the gym to the next generation of basketball players, after the RHS season ended.
“I think it’s doing pretty well so far,” Tornell said. “We’ve got pretty good numbers and I’m surprised how many young girls, and their parents, are involved.”
About a dozen girls showed up to Monday’s practice at Fremont Middle School, with a few players out because of spring break plans.
“The whole part was to make the gym more available so they can work out,” Tornell said. “That’s the concern I heard most from parents.”
It also gives the eighth-graders from both middle schools in Roseburg, Fremont and Jo Lane, a chance to get to know each other before joining on the high school team.
“I love it,” Micah Wicks said. “It gets me more time on the court and with a basketball in my hand, which is what I always want.”
Wicks is an eighth-grader at Jo Lane Middle School and Tornell said she might be the best basketball player her age in the city.
“Micah is the captain of the ship,” Tornell said. “She loves to help out the little kids.”
Wicks said she has not yet committed to playing for Roseburg High School, but likes ideas Tornell has about basketball and the changes he has made thusfar. Wicks also plays softball and volleyball and hopes to continue being a three-sport athlete in high school.
Kennedy Baylis-Hines, an eighth-grader from Fremont, expects to try out for the RHS team next year.
“I think it’s fun. We learn to work with (Jo Lane players) before we get into high school,” Baylis-Hines said. “(Tornell) is a good coach and knows what he’s doing.”
The girls will learn a system of basketball that matches what Tornell coaches at the high school, including plays and drills.
Tornell took over the Roseburg High program this year and developed a vision for grades 6-12 prior to the start of the season.
His middle school plan includes creating an A and B team, based on skill level, at the middle schools. The “A” team would travel to play tougher competition and the “B” team would play the maximum amount of games allowed to get more playing and coaching time.
Tornell noted that some of the middle school star players “are developing one-man-show habits” and have trouble adjusting to the higher level of play at the high school level.
For the schedule, visit https://tinyurl.com/y2swubvb. The schedule also includes weightlifting and shows the age group, location and time of the scheduled practices.