For high school basketball teams, the summer is a chance to improve.
Twelve varsity boys teams and six varsity girls teams along with several junior varsity squads came to the Smith-Cotton gym for the Tri-Lakes Shootout Thursday and Friday.
For the Smith-Cotton boys basketball team, it was a chance to hit the floor under new coach Brennan Scanlon.
“It was a good effort,” Scanlon said. “The Higginsville team we played (Friday) is a really good team and it was a one point game. We just need our guards to learn how to compete.”
In his first summer with the Tigers, Scanlon is seeing improvement in the team.
“There’s obviously going to be good times and there’s going to be bad times,” he said. “We just want there to be more good times than bad times.”
Though there have been ups and downs, Scanlon said the team has been competitive so far this summer.
“They’re trying to listen and get better,” he said. “For the most part, they’ve been pretty good.”
It is also a chance to test the varsity-readiness of the Tigers’ young lineup. Blake Allee-Lightfoot and Jacob Bergman are Smith-Cotton’s only returning seniors next winter, so the team will be relying on youth.
“The 10 guys that we’re playing, five will be sophomores and one will be a freshman,” Scanlon said. “We don’t have a lot of upper-classmen so we’re giving the young guys a lot of looks. Hopefully it will pay off down the line.”
Smith-Cotton will spend the next two weekends at events in Columbia. With 15 games played in the summer schedule so far, Scanlon hopes to get eight games in next weekend and eight the week after. By the end of the summer, the Tigers will have played 30 games, giving the players time to get used to their new coach.
“We had camp last weekend so we’re only at about eight, nine, 10 days,” Scanlon said. “I’m still new to them and they’re new to me, but their effort is good.”