In his first year as the girls basketball coach at Sacred Heart, Jon Tester is looking to establish a new summer tradition.
Tester has about 15 girls from grades third through eighth in the Sacred Heart gym for a summer camp this week.
“We have a bunch of drills that will help us in the future,” said Hannah Church, a basketball player who will be heading into the eighth grade this fall.
Kaylea Weber has been playing basketball since third grade and will be heading into seventh grade this fall.
“I’m picking up a lot of passing drills and shooting and dribbling,” she said. “It’s the whole package.”
She said she also likes the energy level on the floor during drills.
“It’s different because everyone supports you and it’s like we’re all a team,” she said.
What has impressed Tester during the camp is the work ethic he has seen from the Sacred Heart students.
“Most of these girls are playing multiple sports, soccer, volleyball, whatever else they play,” he said. “But they take this very seriously and work very hard at it and they’re determined to get better. I’ve been very impressed just with the mindset of ‘this is something I want to get better at and I’m willing to work.’”
Before taking the job with the Gremlins, Tester was a head coach with the boys program at Otterville and later an assistant with the boys team at Smith-Cotton. At the camp on Monday, players from Tester’s previous schools — Ryan Benny and Paul Oswald from Otterville and Spencer Ruckman from Smith-Cotton — dropped in to talk to the players who hope to play for Tester in the future. Another former high school player, Gabbi Ebers from Sacred Heart, is expected to visit with the younger athletes today.
“They came in and helped out as well,” Tester said. “(They) talked about hard work and dedication and what it takes to get to the next level. It’s been great that these kids are giving back.”
Also helping with the camp are the current Sacred Heart girls varsity players.
“If we do something wrong, they will give us tips and that’s helpful,” Church said.
“They lead by example,” Tester said. “I told the girls out here, two or three years from now that will be you teaching the younger kids how we do things. It’s been tremendous.”
The camp continues through Thursday.