POPLAR SPRINGS, – The Poplar Springs annual basketball team camp is back after a little hiatus due to the pandemic.
“It’s kinda like a get-together. It’s a celebration of the past season and the excitement of the season ahead,” Poplar Springs head boys basketball coach Jared Owen said.
15 varsity boys basketball teams from around the Panhandle and beyond played on Monday throughout the day.
Each team got three games starting at 9 a.m. and finishing up around 9 p.m.
All of the players excited to get the opportunity to play some good matchups with tough opponents over the summer.
“Last year no schools got to participate in any summer activity, so you go into your season kind of blind, but having this opportunity to see what kids can do, put them in different roles, you’ve lost your seniors from last year so you’ve got these young kids playing some new experience anyways,” Malone head boys basketball coach Steven Welch said.
Some of the local teams participating in the tournament are Poplar Springs, Malone, Arnold, Bay, Vernon, Cottondale, Freeport, South Walton, Walton, Bozeman, Mosley, Altha, Bethlehem, Marianna, Graceville and Holmes County.
The teams playing some of those games in the Poplar Springs new gym and some of them in the old gym.
Those games in the old gym adding an extra level of toughness since that gym is affectionately called the hot box.
“No AC over there, it doesn’t matter, even our kids that are used to it, they still complain. You get a bunch of other schools, other teams in here that aren’t used to that and it’s just funny some of the things that gets said. So that’s the hot box, and everybody gets to play in it, we don’t leave anybody out. Everyone gets that great experience,” Owen said.
Since these games aren’t counted in any official records, the coaches and the players are a little more relaxed about them, but that doesn’t mean everyone isn’t playing their hearts out this week.
“For us, we don’t have football, and I think there are other schools here that don’t have it so we just look forward to basketball always, so just the opportunity to get out of the gym to play some other people. For these football schools, you get out of the heat and out of the sun and come inside and play some basketball,” Welch said.
The boys varsity teams play Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week with girls JV teams playing on Tuesday and Thursday.
The girls varsity teams and JV boys teams are playing next week.