Success builds from the bottom up

Story and photos by Mark Carpenter – 

No one can argue with the success of Coach Rob Davis in his 18-year stint at the helm of the North Adams Lady Devils basketball program. A long list of league titles, sectional titles, and district appearances mark the tenure of Davis with the Lady Devils and one of the keys to his program’s success is the enthusiasm that he and his staff develop for the game with the youth of their school district and the continued stability in their coaching staff.
That enthusiasm was on display once again on the last two days of May and the first day of June as Davis and his staff hosted their annual Lady Devils Basketball Camp, bringing 47 young ladies from grades two through eight congregated for three days in the NAHS gymnasium.
The North Adams camp was pretty par for the course with other camps in the area, with a serious emphasis on the fundamental skills of basketball. The camp seems to run like a well-oiled machine, all the way from the assistant coaches who flawlessly run the drills to Davis’ wife Jo, who nightly provided snacks and drinks for the campers, plus getting all the camp t-shirts organized.
“It’s so important for us to just get all these young kids involved,” said Coach Davis. “We try to teach them some fundamentals and let them come out here and have some fun, but we also want to remind them that it is just a game and not too get overly serious about it, just make it fun and learn as much as they can. I appreciate all the kids that come out and all the coaches and high school kids who come out and help. These camps are not something you can get done by yourself.”
“I actually thought our camp numbers might be down a little bit this year and then all of a sudden here they all come. Sometimes with a morning camp parents can’t get the kids here and then in an evening camp, there are conflicts like softball to deal with so we kind of try to mix it up a little bit. If we get near 50 kids I’m happy, and getting the young ones involved and introduce them to some new stuff is important. It’s a joy to do it, and I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t still enjoy it.”
As Davis mentioned, no high school basketball camp can be run by one man alone, so the help that he gets is very important, and a large group of Lady Devils’ high school players were on hand to play “hero” to their younger counterparts. Those high school Lady Devils on hand included: Wylie Shipley, Brianna Robinson, Faith Howell, Alyssa Mays, Karissa Buttelwerth, McKenzie Bailey, Breanna Piatt, Alaina Eiterman, Skyler Johnson, Carolyn Shupert, Mary Sonner, Cortney Brown, Abbi Stacy, Grace McDowell, Taylor Hesler, Lakyn Hupp, Avery Harper, and Delaney Harper.
One of those helpers, senior-ro-be Lakyn Hupp, spoke to The Defender about her time at the camp.
“I like to work with these young campers because I know when I was younger, I always looked up to the people who were helping me,” said Hupp. “It’s nice to know that now these young girls are looking up to me. These kids are having a lot of fun and you can tell they are learning a lot more.”
Besides Coach Davis, other coaching staff on hand to assist were: JV Coach Tony Williams, Assistant Laynee Davis, and Junior High coaches Taylor Jodrey and Shannon Staggs.
The campers for the week included (in no particular order): Olivia Wright, Keetyn Hupp, Tori Staggs, Brea Stout, Kendall Sullivan, Sierra Kendall, Myla Toole, Calee Campbell, Morgan Shupert, Sydney Figgins, Lizzie Gill, Emma Prine, Mary Litzinger, Ainsley Grooms, Taylor Staggs, Olivia Dotson, Kaitlyn Davis, Lexie Rowe, Kayden Francis, Brooke Robinson, Jayden Teriaca, Kacee Cook;
Harlee Brand, Kenlie Jones, Hunter Grooms, Tatum Grooms, Aulbrea Meade, Taylor Shelton, Addison Shupert, Natalie Ragan, Katelynn Boerger, McKenna Shelton, Lanna Cook, Chloe Baker, Layna Pistole, Ava Pistole, Emma Pistole, Morgan Wheeler, Jovey Stephens, Kylee Moore, Saxony Burns, Johnie Edwards, Sophie Barlow, Jacee Davis, Lilly Parker, and Elizabeth Raines.