Galesburg Girls Basketball: Streaks focus on conceptsThe Register-Mail, Galesburg, Ill. — Matthew Wheaton The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Ill.
Sept. 16-- Sep. 16--GALESBURG -- For the first time in 33 years, members of the Galesburg High School girls basketball program didn't partake in Galesburg Summer League action in 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic forced Silver Streaks coach Evan Massey to call off the GSL, the oldest and largest girls summer basketball league in downstate Illinois.
And Galesburg's players only gathered together on three occasions.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Streaks finally met again as a unit, and Massey, who has racked up a 931-365 record in 42 seasons, was pleased to be back inside John Thiel Gymnasium.
"Like everybody, you miss the opportunity of being able to do the stuff in the summer, but it's really exciting to have the opportunity to get together," he said. "The contact days in the fall are really a nice deal because it's an opportunity where we can really work on things without the stress of games hanging over us.
"I've always been envious of the Division I college coaches. They can work year round with kids," Massey added. "This is nice. It's an opportunity to be able to work on fundamentals but also work on some team concepts, too."
The Streaks are doing so while donning masks.
"Everybody has to wear a mask just like in the real world," Massey said. "It's definitely not something that would be a preference, but I think the obvious right now is if that is the price to be able to work on basketball, then it's the price the kids are willing to take."
For the last few months, Massey's gang has been working on their own.
"We started an incentive program clear back in April and carried it on all the way up until right now," Massey said. "We did a driveway camp in May and June. It was 20-day camp where they had clips from our Hudl to look at and an instructional video off the internet.
"I think historically all the great players have invested time working on their own in that way, so In that way, I'd like to think it was a positive for them," he added. "They were learning self discipline and it was kind of an old-school approach.
"I'm at an age where old-school is positive."
The Streaks missed the opportunity to enhance their team chemistry over the summer, but Massey doesn't foresee that being an issue.
"I think we missed out on some things, but we've got some good kids, as far as their attitude toward each other and their attitude towards coaching. We are fortunate we've got some really great kids to work with," he said. "I think in their way they've done what they can to stay connected and support each other.
"Watching them in terms of their approach to wearing masks, coaching and each other, I'm really proud of the great attitude the kids seem to have, because of that it is exciting to be able to get started.
"I think they are a group that have some pretty significant goals, so hopefully we can get started working on it and get headed in that direction."
Galesburg went 18-14 overall last winter and 6-8 in Western Big 6 Conference play, and the Streaks hope they can improve their winning percentage this season. That's if there is one.
As of now there is, and Galesburg's players will attend their first official practice Monday, Nov. 16, but who knows what COVID-19 may bring before then.
"I think at this point all of us connected with sports have learned you just have to be ready to adjust. Some days you get information or messages which are a step back," Massey said. "Yesterday, the news was very positive. The restriction on two games a week was changed, so that's exciting. Today, I spent a lot of time reaching out to people trying to get some more games on our schedule."
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