Summertime is no vacation for the members of the Dawson County varsity girls basketball squad.
The Lady Tigers ran at full speed through drills to practice fast-breaks and defensive presses, and after pausing to listen to the instructions of head coach Steve Sweat, they went right back to work.
The girls are working hard at practice, said Sweat, They are a good group of kids and fun to coach.
The team began its activities just after school let out for the summer and have had more than two dozen players at practice.
One of the important goals for this time is to give the upcoming freshmen from Dawson County Middle School and Riverview Middle School the opportunity to come together and playboth with each other and with the 13 returning members from last years high school team.
They bring some good excitement, Sweat said of the new players. Everything has been going great.
On the other end of the roster, the Lady Tigers are looking for their large class of upcoming seniors to provide leadership, including guards Carly Gilreath and Hannah Porter, wing players Kacie Bearden and Whitney Glover, and post players Allie Costley and Kenna Seitz.
The energetic practice sessions are one part of a busy schedule during the month of June for the Lady Tigers, who are also participating in numerous team camps and scrimmages.
The teams main priorities this summer are learning to press more and run more.
In other words, put pressure on opposing ball-handlers to force turnovers and score fast-break points.
Later this month, the Lady Tigers will participate in a team camp at Georgia College, giving them the chance to face many schools from south Georgiawhere teams press and run more than in the mountain regions.
If we get to the State Tournament, we will have seen it, Sweat said, referring to this fast-paced style of play, as opposed to the more physical play that dominates in the northern regions.
In addition, the team camps give the Lady Tigers the chance to play larger schools, which makes them better.
At the Pickens County team camp last week, Dawson County played 13 games in three days, with the varsity squad winning all but two of their games, while the JV went undefeated.
The Lady Tigers (Region 8-AA) scored some impressive victories at the camp over larger schools, including Duluth (Region 7-AAAAA) and Roswell (Region 6-AAAAA).
With practice time before the season in the fall limited to a few precious weeks at most, the time spent together during the summer takes on greater significance.
Its a time when the players can learn to play together without a boisterous crowd in the stands.
Its a time when they can bond as a group during their overnight camps.
And its a time when they can have a little fun playing basketball before the pressure of the season, which always seems to arrive sooner than expected.