Hoopsters get down to basics in Kingston

KINGSTON — Last Saturday, there were only a few minutes left in this winter’s Basketball Basics program, but plenty of teaching left to be done.

KINGSTON — Last Saturday, there were only a few minutes left in this winter’s Basketball Basics program, but plenty of teaching left to be done.

As two teams raced up and down the Kingston Junior High court — teams with short players, tall players, boys and girls, inexperienced hoopsters and canny veterans — Tony Chisholm, who helps run the program, let a note of criticism into his voice.

“I taught you guys Stanford,” he said from the sideline, referring to offensive sets. “I taught you guys Kansas. And you’re just throwing the ball up there.”

The two teams were listening.

On the next trip down the court, they ran a set that would have put a smile in John Wooden’s heart: cutting, backdoor plays and plenty of screening.

For Chisholm and the participants, that’s the point of the program — basic skills that will help players reach the next level in basketball.

Basketball Basics took a while to get off the ground but now attracts players from Silverdale and Bremerton, as well as the North Kitsap area.

“It’s turned out to be a good program,” said Chisholm, who coaches the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at Kingston Junior High.

In it, Chisholm drills the young players on basic moves, such as the reverse pivot, the crossover dribble and the triple-threat position.

The learning doesn’t end with the individual drills. The participants then scrimmage — sometimes halfcourt, sometimes fullcourt — with the KJH coach occasionally stopping action to interject comments, criticism and praise.

Poulsbo Junior High eighth grader Cameron White, who has been involved in the program for five years, said the skills have helped.

“I’ve learned a lot. I feel more comfortable with the basketball,” White said. “You get to work hard and learn new skills.”

After the final session was over, Chisholm noted that his voice had grown hoarse. While he isn’t afraid to point out flaws, Chisholm said he likes to teach by positive encouragement.

As the final seconds ticked away, he eyed a perfect give-and-go and layup with approval.

“That’s beautiful!” he shouted.

The sessions are for players in grades 4-9. The cost is usually $5 per session or $25 for a six-session punch card.

Chisholm is usually assisted with NKHS athletes or coaches.

The program will likely resume again in the spring.

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