rowing up, Kasandra Rieckers always played basketball under her mother, Brownstown Central varsity coach Karla Rieckers.
The past two weeks, the two have worked on the same side of the sideline.
Kasandra joined the Braves’ girls basketball staff this summer to help with basketball camps for kids in third through eighth grades.
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“I always grew up around my mom coaching basketball,” Kasandra said. “It’s something I want to do in the future. It’s a great way to get my hands wet.
“I love working with my mom. Back when I played, she was a little hard on me, but it only made me better. I’m glad I had the opportunity to play for her. She has taught me so much about the game.”
A handful of former Braves, including 2015 graduate Brooke Ebbing, have helped coach Rieckers with the camps.
“It’s neat to have my former players,” Karla said. “It’s nice to see those former players come back and bring their knowledge of the game. They get to see the other side. Now they know why we said or did things as coaches. It’s an eye-opener for them.”
Outside of the camps, Karla and Kasandra have worked on new drills for the kids.
“It’s different. (Kasandra) is in the other gym, so we’re not really working directly together since we have separate groups,” Karla said. “We talk about what we want to do drill-wise. I have added some drills since she has graduated, like a ‘toughness drill,’ where we have girls diving for loose balls.”
Last week, the third-graders worked on the basics.
“With my younger group, I had my third-graders come in for just last week,” Karla said. “We worked on ball-handling and dribbling. It was the same thing with the fourth-graders. We did a little shooting form and the basics of basketball.”
Kasandra, who also coached the third-grade team in Brownstown, also preaches the basics.
“A lot of times, I focus on the fundamentals — making sure they have their technique down,” she said. “In the school year, they try to run more plays. We want to focus on dribbling, shooting and defense.”
The fourth-graders took the floor for an hour before the fifth- through eighth-graders went to work for an hour and a half.
“With the older kids, we run some more of the drills we do at the high school,” Karla said. “The seventh and eighth grade, we focus on our sets that we run. They play in a league right now, also. They’re a little more advanced than the younger kids.”
About 10 kids from each class attended the camp, a typical turnout, with athletes from Lutheran Central, St. John Sauers and the Brownstown district.
“I think we have a good turnout of kids,” Karla said. “They work hard. The weather has been nice this year, not too hot.”
Karla said shooting ability differs on the development of the player.
“I talk to my third- and fourth-graders about basic shooting form,” Karla said. “We have them get their feet ready, hands correct and watch the follow-through. I would say, by sixth grade, we try to make sure they’re shooting correctly, especially with layups.”
On Tuesday, some of the older kids scrimmaged for the first time.
“Today was the first day that we opened scrimmage and played some games,” Karla said. “My sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders have scrimmaged a little bit, but we never do that with the third- and fourth-graders.”
Thursday, the school will host a shooting camp led by Jay Wolf.
The high school team is in full swing with its workouts and are playing in a league which includes Crothersville, Providence, Trinity Lutheran, Salem and Pekin.