West doors open for girls BB
Coaches plan 2 clinics, weekly gym time to help program

       West Middle School will become a haven for girls basketball this summer.
       Two summer clinics are planned, and the school gym will be open once a week for female West students or fifth-graders who will be attending West next year.
       The effort, which is intended to strengthen an admittedly weak West girls' hoop program, is being led by the two West girls' basketball coaches: Amy Delcastro and E.D. Rucker.
       The clinic dates are June 9-10 and Aug. 11-12. The times each day will be 9 a.m. to noon. The charge is $5 a person.
       “It will be a fun camp,” Rucker said. “We'll teach basketball skills, the complexities of basketball and shooting and dribbling.”
       On Thursdays through the summer, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the gym will be open at no charge for girls to play basketball. Balls will be provided, and “concerned parents” will be volunteering to help out at those times, Rucker said.
       “The problem at West is that we're behind the eight ball when we're playing other schools,” he said. At schools like Holmes (the other Westside middle school), girls have strong parental support and wind up playing up to 200 games a summer.
       But at West, “the girls don't pick up a basketball before the season starts or after the season ends. We have two months with them, and that's it,” Rucker said. As a result, during the season, the coaches spend much of their time just teaching fundamentals, and “we take a pounding regularly.”
       He added that his and Delcastro's summer plans are in no way a discrimination against boys. The West boys' basketball coaches are free to set up their own clinics or gym time if they want to, he said.
       Rucker, who is also the director of the West Intergenerational Center, was the West girls' “B” basketball team coach this year. It was his first year coaching at the school.
       Another goal of his before next winter's school basketball season, he said, is to “get together with coaches of the school's feeder elementaries and establish some kind of intramural program. We're trying to expose the fifth-grade girls from the feeder schools to the program before they get here.”
       For more information, Rucker can be reached at the West Center at 385-7920.

Westside Pioneer article