Holmes loves teaching aspiring hoopsters

  • Helene Holmes begins an ORA practice at Fisher Hill Elementary School, Tuesday in Orange.  FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Young players display a knack for finding the ball at ORA practice, Tuesday in Orange.  FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Trey Gallo (left) and Nathan Griffith fight for the ball during a drill at ORA practice, Tuesday in Orange.  FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

  • Helene Holmes instructs Jayden Delgado during a drill at ORA practice, Tuesday in Orange. FOR THE ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2019 12:04:17 PM

 When Helene Holmes blows her whistle to get a youth basketball practice started at Orange Recreation Association the players know what is expected of them.

After the whistle echoed throughout the gym at Fisher Hill Elementary School on Tuesday, the players all went to the bleachers and put their listening ears on immediately, 

Holmes began the practice with the basics of pass, shoot or dribble. From there, Holmes stressed the importance of keeping your dribble and pivoting. 

Then the balls started to bounce and the learners playing at ORA began to immerse themselves in basketball knowledge and experience. 

“We don’t make a big fuss about who scores what,” Holmes said. “We are trying to get their skills better. That’s our whole focus. Just getting skills, teamwork and sportsmanship. Those are the three main things. We are not worrying about winning and losing.”

Holmes is around the Mahar varsity program for every game. A lot of the players on the current Mahar roster got their start with Holmes and ORA.

“They start here in fourth grade,” Holmes said. “I love the sport. I love teaching the kids. It’s important for the parents to know that this is for the kids’ development.”

Treighton St. Pierre is a seventh grader at Mahar Regional using ORA to work on his game for next season. 

“She’s a good basketball teacher,” Pierre said of Holmes. “She is direct. She shows you how to do it instead of just telling you. 

At Tuesday’s practice, Holmes began with a tutorial on the options a player has with the ball.

“You need to dribble if you can,” Pierre said. “If you can’t shoot, then you can pass.”

Owen Dresser goes to Dexter Park and enjoys the exertion that comes with playing basketball.

“It takes a lot of sweat to practice,” Dresser said. 

The fourth-grader has identified what he wants to work on this season at ORA.

“Shooting in the hoop from far distances,” Dresser said. 

Dresser plays on the red team with his good friend Evan Alden. While Dresser is working on his outside game, Alden likes to do his work in the paint near the rim.

“I like playing with my friends,” Alden said. “I need to block players more on defense. I am best at offense right in front of the basket.”

Holmes has taught basketball at ORA since 1984. This season the league lost sponsors, so each of the six teams of 10 players is designated with a color.

“We play scrimmages until the final week,” Holmes said. “The final week is the playoffs and those are the ones that count. Double elimination.”

Playoffs at ORA begin on March 19. 

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