A group of middle school and junior high school girls have been putting in some extra time on their basketball skills since the middle of April.
Twelve rising seventh and eighth graders, under the guidance and coaching of Raymond Siuta, began practicing twice a week in April and worked through June before attending team camps where they played 17 games in seven days.
"These girls have put in a lot of time when they didn't have to," said Siuta about the sacrifice of time on summer break.
Siuta, who has coached park and rec basketball, had a daughter interested in the sport at the middle school level and decided to look for opportunities to get the young girls on the court more.
The group practiced one to two times a week from the middle of April until the middle of June.
They then played June 20-23 at South Forsyth High School, eight games in four days.
"They did well, played some pretty stiff competition from some larger schools," he said.
The team played Lumpkin County, North Forsyth, White County, East Hall and Banks County.
June 26-28 they played a series of nine games over three days in Banks County.
"I felt they made some great strides both individually and as a team," he said.
Aside from honing their skills on the court, Siuta said it gave the girls an opportunity to bond and develop relationships that will last for years to come.
The players included rising seventh graders Ruby Tinsley, Kirklyn Porter, Emma Walls, Cydney Cunningham, Reese Moore, Madelyn Lee and Maggie Dowdy. The rising eighth graders are Emma Pelfrey, Avery Herring, Chloe Allensworth, Lexi Roland, Lily Phillips and Ella Siuta.