The Fighting Squirrels basketball team rebounded, dribbled, sprinted, and shot lay-ups, foul shots, and jumpers in their win against conference opponent Wilson College at the Physical Activities Center in February. Then they rose early the next morning to do it all again – for local Girl Scouts visiting Mary Baldwin University.
“I wanted to make sure that the girls had a good time and learned new skills,” said Rayna Henry ’06, who led the rebounding station for the daylong camp. “They were really excited, but some of the younger ones were scared of the ball, so I had to bounce it off the backboard very soft,” she added.
This is the first year that Mary Baldwin has hosted the “Every Girl, Everywhere” basketball clinic for Girl Scouts in first grade through middle school. Fifty-seven girls from Charlottesville, Roanoke, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Augusta Country attended the clinic, and the athletic department has already booked a repeat of the event for next year, said Jackie Bryan, head basketball coach and sports information director.
Athletes led lessons in stretching, rebounding, shooting, passing, and dribbling – each skill matched up with her strength on the court – and ate brunch and toured the campus with the youngsters. The Girl Scouts stayed on campus to heartily cheer the team to victory against the College of Notre Dame, Maryland.
“I stress to my players that it is important to reach out to others in addition to working on improving your own skills,” Bryan said. “We kept it real simple because many of the girls hadn’t played or weren’t regular basketball players.”
One of the participating Girl Scout troops performed a color guard routine during halftime and a young Brownie Scout troop from Staunton performed the national anthem to kick off the game.
The college also annually hosts two Lil’ Squirrels Basketball Camp in the summer, inviting Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County girls to work for a week honing their play with Mary Baldwin students. The first camp is geared toward rising fourth- through seventh-graders; the second offers more advanced training for high-school players.
Mary Baldwin also hosts the Atlantic Women’s Colleges Conference (AWCC) basketball tournament this week, beginning with Mary Baldwin’s first-round match-up against 7th seed Chatham College February 22 at 6 p.m. The basketball team finished second in regular season play in the AWCC.
Semi-final games on Friday are at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The consolation game on Saturday begins at 5:00 p.m. and the championship follows at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $2.00 a person and 12 and under free. Mary Baldwin students free with ID.