Basketball players learn skills at camp

Newton High School hosts summer activities

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  • Merriam Avenue School in Newton, NJ hosted summer basketball camp from July 28 to Aug. 1. The camp taught the fundamentals of the game and was conducted by the Newton Junior Athletic League. Players from the Newton High School girls basketball team were counselors.

  • Basketball coaches Mitch Hillard and Keith Anderson and participants pose for a portrait on the final day of basketball camp Friday, Aug. 1.

  • Far left Newton High School head varsity girls basketball coach Whitney Dugan addresses camp participants.

  • Newton High School varsity girls basketball head coach Whitney Dugan and high school players and camp counselors Addi Hillard (17), Jurly Schomp (16), Anna Keimel (17) and Kayla Chambliss (17).

  • From left Maddie Leonardi (13), Addi Hillard (17) and April Serratelli (14) on the court. All three are from Newton.

  • Thirteen-year-old Maddie Leonardi of Newton, NJ reaches for the ball.


— The 23rd annual Newton Boys Basketball Camp was in full swing on the first day of activities Monday, July 28. The week-long camp at Newton High School teaches the fundamentals of the sport.

Newton High School varsity boys basketball head coach Dirk Kelly instructed the players. Kelly is assisted by current players on the high school team. Newton High School graduates and former players Steven Kelly and Nate Samanns were guest instructors.

"The benefits of our program is that we have camp participants coming from several different towns. Many of the players participate on their school and recreational basketball teams. Here we blend the players together so they get to know each other," Kelly said. "Many of them play on different teams in their respective towns but here they play as teammates instead of adversaries. We [coaches] get to see how they match up against each other. Also the players who range in age from ten to fourteen-years-old get a chance to play in the high school gym. Some of these players will be playing for the school in the future. During camp time they can learn and have fun at the same time."

"Many of the current high school players attended the Newton Boys Basketball Camp as players in the past. We also have alumni players that have gone on to college return as camp instructors," Kelly said.

This year Steven Kelly, who just graduated from Newton this year, came back and helped out as an instructor. Kelly will be attending The College of New Jersey in the fall.

Also Nate Samanns, who played and graduated from Newton High School, is an instructor. Samanns is attending Moravian College in Pennsylvania.

"It's good to see former players come back and mentor the younger players," Kelly said.

"The camp gives me a chance to see the players progress and watch them come up the ladder. I get to know the players before they make it to high school," the coach said. "The Newton Boys Basketball Camp gives these kids a basis for what they are going to do when they come to high school."

Coach Kelly and his staff put the players through the paces of full court play for several hours. The school gymnasium and the outside basketball courts were utilized. Team strategy is taught and coaches also focus on an individual progression on the court.

Practice began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m. The younger players are dismissed at noon.

The Newton Boys Basketball Camp helps build the foundation an athlete will need to help take their skills to the next level. Some of the camp players will become the stars on the hardwood at Newton High School in the future.

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