Future Lady Panthers come out for annual Hoop Camp
By Lance Catchings
The annual Lady Panther Hoop Camp got underway on Tuesday and had more than 100 young Panther athletes in attendance.
The camp, hosted by Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Chris Lange and his staff, featured a host of former players as assistant coaches.
“We had 14 girls that came back to work with us again this year,” Lange said. “They range in age from graduating 2015-16 to graduating this year. It is great to have the older girls come back. They like to be around the other players, our coaching staff and the kids.”
Ireland Sargent graduated just days ago and was a large piece in the Lady Panthers playoff run to the regional finals last season. Now that her playing career is over, she’s ready to pass her knowledge on to the future of Liberty Hill.
“I just graduated and I wanted to come back and see all the kids that will end up playing for Coach Lange,” Sargent said. “Being here brings back those memories of being in the camp. When I think back to my time at the camp, I remember the volunteers and them caring so much for you. I remember competing with my teammates and friends and knowing that one day we could get the chance to be on the court at the varsity level.”
After refereeing a group of young girls playing a scrimmage, Sargent said she hopes that they one day feel the support that she and so many other players from the program have felt.
“I hope it means playing for each other and playing for their school for them one day,” she said. “I hope they know that they have a strong community behind them, and growing up, they should continue to be friends. These girls will be together throughout high school and the best is yet to come for them.”
Kaylie Potts is a 2016 graduate and is currently in her third year of a business management degree at Texas State University. Despite her busy college schedule, Potts makes sure to circle Lady Panther Hoop Camp on her schedule every year.
“I have been going to Hoop Camps since I was in kindergarten,” Potts said. “I just love being at camp and working with the kids. I have been lucky enough to have the same group of girls the last three years, so I have seen them grow. I have a passion for basketball, so this is something I look forward to every summer to stay involved.”
What Potts remembers the most from her time as a participant was watching the older girls that came before her.
“When I was growing up as a kid, I always enjoyed looking forward to basketball camp,” she said. “I enjoyed being coached by people I would watch play myself when I was a kid. I know Liberty Hill has a strong athletic program, and I believe this is why. People come back and want to help other kids coming up. We have been through the program and we know how it works. I was lucky enough to be a part of a team that went to State every year, so I know what it takes. The girls being a part of this camp and learning to work together is important. Many of these girls will go to middle and high school together. Them getting to experience playing with each other sooner will only help them become better.”
Although Potts no longer lives in Liberty Hill, she makes sure that anyone who asks knows that it is the hard work of the students and coaches that lead to Liberty Hill’s success, no matter where she goes.
“Liberty Hill is good because we work hard,” she said. “We have awesome coaches that understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. A big part of it is coming to camps and playing with people you will be playing with once you get to the higher levels. I am happy that Coach Lange keeps inviting me to come back, because I enjoy it.”