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Youth Basketball Offers Skills Clinics, Scrimmages
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Youngsters in the Cub Basketball program work on their dribbling skills during a clinic at El Portal Middle School on Saturday, Jan. 14. Games will begin Jan. 28. Marg Jackson/The Times

From the youngest basketball player rushing down the court – sometimes shooting at the wrong basket – to those older kids looking to hone some skills, Escalon area youngsters are getting some solid instruction on the hardwood.

The Escalon Recreation basketball program is designed for kids from pre-kindergarten through first grade and runs Tuesday evenings for the Pre-K kids, Saturday mornings in the old gym at Escalon High School for the kindergarten and first grade students. With several local businesses and organizations serving as team sponsors, volunteer coaches help the kids learn the basics of the game as they compete in scrimmages.

This past Saturday, brightly colored T-shirts worn by the kids differentiated the teams, with coaches on the court assisting with the dribbling, passing and shooting. The old gym is divided into two courts for the day, so four teams can play at one time.

City officials said over 100 kids are registered, playing on a number of different teams in the program.

Meanwhile, participants in Escalon High School’s Cub Basketball program concluded their second Saturday of skill drill clinics, hosted at El Portal Middle School and focusing on dribbling, pivots, defense, footwork, shooting and more.

Games for the participants will begin on Saturday, Jan. 28 and run for five weeks. Each Saturday will feature some warm-up time to refresh the skills, followed by scrimmages. Skills clinics were hosted both Jan. 7 and 14 for Cub players. This Saturday they take the week off before getting into the schedule of games.

Nearly 175 kids are registered for that program.

“The first couple of days make for some pretty long ones for the coaches,” Escalon High varsity basketball head coach Martin Louro said, noting that players from the EHS teams and coaches help out with the Cub program. “But it’s fun, and now we will make teams and start the games.”