2018-07-19 / Sports

County teams stay in shape during the summer

Ruelas, Glen Lake looking forward to this season

COACH CLINT COUTURIER demonstrates dribbling for players on Monday night at St. Mary schools. COACH CLINT COUTURIER demonstrates dribbling for players on Monday night at St. Mary schools. Prep basketball players have been busy participating in open gyms and scrimmages over the summer..

Coaches of county girls and boys teams talked about what they’ve been doing over the summer. Scrimmages and team camps started in the middle of June, and some players have attended collegiate camps.

But coaches don’t want sports to dominate their summer vacations.

“We actually do most of our stuff in June,” Glen Lake boys coach Rich Ruelas said. “A message I give to the kids is to not forget to be kids and enjoy the summer. We have kids that are very busy during the summer, so as much as I want them to get out to open gyms, I want them to just play on the driveway with their friends.”

Ruelas is excited about the possibilities of the 2018-19 season for Glen Lake, which in March advanced to the Class C state final.

SUMMER BASKETBALL. Breanna Weber (right) and the St. Mary girls basketball team warms up before their open gym on Monday night. SUMMER BASKETBALL. Breanna Weber (right) and the St. Mary girls basketball team warms up before their open gym on Monday night. “I’m looking forward to working with kids who are passionate about basketball again this season,” Ruelas said. “We are ready for the next journey and we aren’t going to look back. We are going to set new goals and won’t have any pressure.”

The Glen Lake girls coach, Jason Bradford, said he has been having good turnouts at the open gyms. The team members are staying active and pushing themselves even during summer.

“After graduating a great class, a lot of people might ask how we can follow it up,” Bradford said. “We are just going to got out each night and show how hard we have been working. We will compete very well and keep going.”

Some teams participate in basketball clinics held in Traverse City, too.

Open gyms may be the best way to get the team together during busy summers. Athletes with busy schedules can show up when time allows, working to perfect their games before fall sports get to close.

St. Mary girls coach Clint Couturier hosts open gyms on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“We are going to be a very competitive team this season,” Couturier said. “The girls have had a lot of success in other areas and they can bring that success to basketball. I’m looking forward to what this season has in store.”

Couturier also mentioned how the team is coming together and preparing for the season.

“We don’t have a play in yet,” he said. “The girls still come out and have a lot of fun with each other on the court.”

The St. Mary boys team, coached by Jim Dybevik, has had well-attended open gyms all summer. Team members are coming off solid performances at a team camp held in Gaylord.

“We are going to continue to improve and get better,” Dybevik said. “We have a new set of kids that can put the ball in the hoop and the best thing to see is that we are shooting the ball well.”

The biggest thing for the Eagles team movement — both in offense, and in positions.

“We are going to have a guard move to a forward,” Dybevik said. “Making these personnel changes will better balance some of the shooters we have that are coming up.”

Dybevik also mentioned that Shawn Grant and August Schaub had great camps for the Eagles.

Leland boys coach Jon Kiessel said his squad also has been busy.

“We try to do all of our off season work in June,” Kiessel said. “It’s hard to work around the summer schedules with the players having jobs.”

The second week out of school, the team held its own camp to work out. Members also attended a camp in Roscommon.

“Senior Ryan Sparkman and Jack Munoz have really stepped up this summer,” Kiessel said. “It’s going to be an interesting season with a whole new team and many young players around.”

Teams can work on their skills, and get a chance to see other competition while at scrimmages.

The Leland girls team, coached by Ryan Knudsen, competes in a five week program at Traverse City on Wednesday evenings.

“It is a great opportunity for our team to play against much larger schools that we might not play against in the regular season,” Knudsen said. “We look forward to it every summer, as it gives us an opportunity to improve by playing against great competition.”

Still, it can be difficult for teams to get together. North Bay girls coach Jim Champion understands that athletes lead hectic lives with work and family

“I understand everyone has busy summers, but we won’t get any better if players won’t come to the open gyms,” Champion said. “You don’t get any better if you don’t play.”

Suttons Bay and Northport boys will play on the same basketball team for the first time.

“We have had a few open gyms and I had a chance to see the guys play together a little,” Suttons Bay coach Ron Anderson said. “We are a little inexperienced, but we will work hard to get better and ready for the season.”

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