The Yelm Tornados girls basketball team is back in action for the first time since its season finale against Bonney Lake in the postseason, following an 11-8 season and gutsy performances in the …
The Yelm Tornados girls basketball team is back in action for the first time since its season finale against Bonney Lake in the postseason, following an 11-8 season and gutsy performances in the playoffs.
The Tornados summer ball program features 14 girls, including returners Lilli Williams and Henlee Sherman. The rest of the team is built of girls with various different skill levels, which will create an opportunity for young Tornados to get a taste of the action with their varsity teammates and competition.
“We’ve been playing with girls of all sorts of skill levels,” head coach Jennifer Sleeman said. “There seems to be a lot of camaraderie and I’m happy about that. We’ve had a good group of girls turn out too. Everybody is helping everybody and I’m proud of that.”
Williams, a sophomore point guard for the Tornados, had the opportunity to compete in the All-State Game in Spokane on Saturday, June 18.
For the first time in two years, Sleeman leads the Tornados back on to the hardwood for summer basketball. The Tornados recently took part and finished the Black Hills Summer League, where they competed in a tournament featuring six teams and finished the tournament one game away from the championship.
“This summer we’re just getting back at it,” Sleeman said. “I didn’t want to overload them with basketball (in the off-season) while they’re playing volleyball, soccer and fastpitch. We’re just trying to have fun this summer. We want girls to enjoy this sport instead of feeling the pressure they’ll feel in the winter.”
The return of summer basketball isn’t the only Yelm tradition that will come back either, Sleeman said. They hosted several fundraisers, including a pie and apparel sale. The Lady Tornados have aspirations to return to Gonzaga University for their team basketball camp and the fundraisers help raise money for that trip.
While the Tornados won’t make the trip to Gonzaga this year for the camp, they are still set for a busy summer.
The Lady Tornados will host a camp called “Yelm Tornados of the Future,” which caters to younger kids interested in the sport of basketball. The tradition was created by former head coach Russ Riches.
The camp, which starts on June 27, lasts for three days. First through fourth graders will have the opportunity to participate in the camp from June 27 through June 29, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Following their participation, fifth through eighth graders will have the chance to be coached by Sleeman and the Tornados basketball players.
More information about the upcoming camp can be found on the Facebook Page titled “Lady Tornado Hoops.”
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