ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — On the north wall of Edgewood High School's gymnasium hangs a red boys basketball banner.
The sign features a Warrior logo on at the top with considerable open red space underneath. Roughly halfway down the sign, though, four white numbers pop out — 2019. The Warriors placed those numbers up in March after collecting the program's first district championship since 1991.
On Wednesday, a number of young Warrior hopefuls practiced in front of the banner they hope to one day hang their own numbers from during Edgewood's boys basketball camp. The camp was held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for grades three through eight.
"We're working real hard on fundamentals, passing the ball and our terminology," Edgewood varsity basketball coach John Bowler said. "We want them to understand when we tell them to hedge on defense and do different things. Then, by the time they get to us, they know it already. So it really helps a lot."
With the help of Bowler, assistant coach Jay Bowler and several players from the varsity team, campers worked on drills to help their dribbling, defensive footwork and hustle. They also practiced some basketball plays, like the pick and roll, and had a chance to play some games with a lit-up scoreboard.
"It's really fun," eight-grader-to-be Robert Digiacomo said. "It helps me get better and I really love basketball. I've always loved to play basketball and I want to get better so hopefully I can be really good at it one day."
Sean Lincoln, another rising eighth grader, said he was unsure if he wanted to participate in the camp, but he's glad he did.
"I got better," he said. "I didn't really want to do it at first, but I started liking it more. It started getting more fun."
As Bowler said, the camp is not just an opportunity for the kids to learn from a district championship winning basketball team, but it gives the varsity coach a good look at some future players. He got a strong look at a number of his current players through similar camps.
"All the kids that are probably playing for me now were in our basketball youth camps," he said. "Like Jake Holden, Kenny (Kamppi), they were all in the basketball camp and now they're here as councilors. It's real good camaraderie and it gets the kids involved with our program. They get to meet our players, so it's really a good thing for us."