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Schools to co-host play dates

One of the ways Jonathan Shedd pulled Verbena’s boys basketball program out of the doldrums was by scheduling summer exhibition games for extra practice.

Now, Shedd hopes to do the same thing with Verbena’s girls.

Shedd took over the girls team from Jennifer Ingram, who will stay on as an assistant and also coach the junior high girls, and one of Shedd’s first moves to schedule summer play dates.

“The girls, it was almost like they were ready to do something,” Shedd said. “I think they see a road to get to where we want to go.”

Verbena’s boys proved that road reaches the destination. The boys ended a three-year losing streak in Shedd’s second season, winning 11 games last year, thanks in part to the extra work they were able to put in during the summer.

The boys will again play competitive games in the offseason. They will co-host round-robin tournaments at Jemison on June 7 and June 14.

Holt, Keith, Clay-Chalkville, B.B. Comer, Oakman and Westminster School will all participate on June 7. One week later, Comer, Montgomery Catholic, Marbury, Victory and Chilton County will play from 9 a.m. to about 6 p.m.

Jemison coach Stacy McGehee said concessions will be available and that no admission will be charged.

“We play Holt, Keith and Clay-Chalkville (during the first play date); two of those made the playoffs, and the other is a 6A school,” McGehee said. “That competition will help us get ready for the regular season.”

Verbena’s boys also have play dates lined up at Oakman on June 9, at Shades Mountain Christian on June 22 and at Comer on June 24.

Shedd said it is more difficult to find girls teams willing to play, but the Red Devils and Jemison will still co-host a play date on June 16 featuring Trinity Presbyterian, Chilton County, Jackson-Olin, Calera, Horseshoe Bend and Oneonta, in addition to the host schools.

The girls will also travel to Holtville on June 8 and to a school in Georgia on June 10.

Shedd hopes the experience will benefit a young team—only two seniors, Brandy Driver and Imma Sanders, graduated from last year’s team, and there will be no seniors on the 2010-11 squad— that won only two games last year.

“You basically get another season of games in the summer,” Shedd said.