LA CAÑADA — As the sun peaked through the glass ceiling and on to part of the court inside the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy gymnasium, a series of drills were taking place.
In between multiple water breaks, 15-20 participants were assigned several basketball-related tasks.
Staying busy while learning is essential at the annual Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Junior Basketball Camp, a week-long event conducted by Tologs coach Ty Buxman that provided participants an opportunity to brush up on their skills and get them prepared for the upcoming season.
The seventh rendition of the camp, which began Monday and finished Friday, focused on footwork, dribbling, rebounding, passing and more and featured girls in grades five through eight. Buxman and his assistant, Wesley Stewart, led each exercises.
“There’s plenty to take away from the camp,” said Buxman, who has been the head coach at Flintridge Sacred Heart since 2012 after serving as an assistant and junior varsity coach. “The one thing we talk about quite a bit is skill development and how they can always work on different drills. Not just here, but at home.
“Some kids just play one or two months and then that’s all. We also want to look at how much they’ve improved throughout the camp. We give them a verbal evaluation and they can take things from that and keep improving in all areas of the game.”
The campers went through one-on-one drills pertaining to footwork while dribbling and passing.
Ariana Epstein, 12, completed the assignments effortlessly.
“It’s my third year coming to the camp,” said Epstein, a La Cañada resident. “When I first came here, I wasn’t very good at doing chest passes.
“At the camp, coach Buxman explains things perfectly and that helps us do the drills easier. if you don’t understand something, he’ll stop and break things down. It makes a big difference.”
Sophia Heredia, a Pasadena resident, will attend Flintridge Sacred Heart in the fall. Heredia chose to attend the event to get a jump on adjusting to the next level.
“It’s kind of like an audition or a tryout,” said Heredia, 14. “Getting a chance to now work with the coaches will help me later on.
“Right now, I’m trying to work on my dribbling while going to the basket. There’s always something you can improve on.”
Buxman said the camp has grown since its inception. It drew a small contingent the first two years before seeing a gradual increase that’s reached around 25 participants.
“The first couple of years, we had maybe five or six people,” said Buxman, whose team finished 18-9, 4-4 in the Sunshine League for third place before advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs last season. “By the third year until now, its been between 15-25 people. That’s the perfect amount of people you want so we can pay close attention to each person and give them the guidance they need.”