Craig Parks & Rec hoops program helps players hone skills | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig Parks & Rec hoops program helps players hone skills

From right, blue players Scooter Hicks and Katie Jo Knez work to get open for a pass from teammate Brook Wheeler during a Craig Parks & Rec basketball game Wednesday at Sandrock Elementary School.

When they first pick up the sport of basketball, kids might struggle to put the ball in the air, let alone the hoop. But, if they stick with it, they have the potential for nothing but net.

Craig Parks & Recreation'sCraig Parks & Recreation’s youth basketball league has been keeping athletes from third- through sixth-grade busy during the winter as boys and girls lace up their Nikes and get on the court. youth basketball league has been keeping athletes from third- through sixth-grade busy during the winter as boys and girls lace up their Nikes and get on the court.

Craig Parks & Recreation's youth basketball league has been keeping athletes from third- through sixth-grade busy during the winter as boys and girls lace up their Nikes and get on the court.

Games take place at Sunset and Sandrock elementary schools throughout the week, though the setup is a little different depending on the age group.

Third- and fourth-grade teams play a three-on-three format, with two games happening at once on either half of the gym. Fundamentals are the focus above the score, though each basket can mean the world to players who are just learning the sport.

Abby Tucker is a fourth-grader who just started this year.

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"I have some difficulty shooting," she said, adding that the motion has gotten easier as the season has continued.

One thing that's made it easier to pick up is having her mother, Amanda, as a coach.

"They're doing really good, and they learn a lot at this age," Amanda said.

Players graduate to the full court in the fifth- and sixth-grade tier, as well as teams of five in action.

A 20-2 win Wednesday was a big boost for sixth-grader Scooter Hicks, who was on the offensive with one shot after another.

"I just like getting the ball, making hoops," Scooter said.

Her father, Tim, noted that the squad of girls has kept after it since beginning practices in October.

"They're progressing good," he said. "This was their best all-around game so far."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.