Northern Hoops gets kids in the game

For 12-year-old Mackenzie Walker, the Northern Hoops basketball camp was all about learning new skills but, more importantly, having fun.

Mackenzie Walker executes a layup at the annual Northern Hoops basketball camp held at Caledonia Secondary School August 25-27.

For 12-year-old Mackenzie Walker, the Northern Hoops basketball camp was all about learning new skills, but more importantly having fun while doing so.

“I’ve done it since I was in Grade 3, this is my fourth year,” says Walker. “I keep coming back because it’s fun and my auntie is a coach.”

This is the sixth year that the camp has been put on in Terrace, organized by Loralyn Murdoch from Prince George. This year’s camp had 59 kids enrolled.

As the former UNBC women’s basketball coach of 15 years, Murdoch’s goal was to introduce the sport to smaller communities like Terrace.

“The intention is to get back ball into the smaller communities, doing some skills and drills and making it as fun as possible. When they get a bit older it’s a bit more demanding and then by the evening group we’re running it a bit like a practice,” she said.

The night session is in fact a designed to help players prepare for playing ball on their school teams, she said.

Murdoch is now the athletics director for UNBC, and says that the Terrace camp continues to be a success.

“Right now we are practising layups and ball-handling and we get to play fun games,”said Walker.

“It’s my favourite sport. I just find it fun I guess. I learn a lot of new things. I’ve learned how to do a real layup. Before I thought layups were just shooting but I learned there is more to it like taking steps before you shoot.”

The camp, which happened August 25-27, had an entry cost of $75 for younger kids and $65 for the night sessions which are a bit shorter.

“It’s a really great group,” said Murdoch.

The days are divided into three sections with three to six-year-olds in the morning, seven to 10-year-olds in the afternoon and then an elite camp for ages nine to 12 in the evenings.

Helping facilitate the program were several older Terrace players including Marcus Mackay who currently plays for the UNBC Timberwolves, as well as Tristan Walker and Gavin Anderson from Caledonia Secondary School.

For the younger kids, it’s more about getting them interested.

“We want to introduce basketball as young as we can,” said Murdoch.