Thorpe establishes summer basketball league | Sports

With COVID causing a pause in area youth basketball, Granbury head girls basketball coach Alan Thorpe saw a disturbing trend in the knowledge and skill level of incoming seventh graders. He’s taken action to stop it with the formation of a summer league.

“We can tell that they’re (seventh graders) behind. Our kids are at a disadvantage because they don’t have the opportunity when they don’t have a local league for the kids to play. If they can’t afford to go travel to play, they don’t have many options,” Thorpe said.


SKILLS: Athletes work on skills first before starting the evening’s league play.

Set on Monday evenings in three different gyms at Granbury High School, the model for the league is practicing skills and fundamentals first. Then the focus centers on games and competition.

It’s a move away from the past three seasons when the Lady Pirates had hosted a three-day camp. A league requires some “helicoptering” coaching for Thorpe as he goes from the Leta Andrews basketball court to Pirate Gym and the back into the James Wann Sports Center into a third gym — which lots of basketball fans don’t even know exists.


With multiple teams playing half-court basketball is required, and Thorpe has called on his varsity staff of Alex Albro, Kelsi Chavez, and Kristin Murray, along with junior high coaches and some varsity players.

A summer league like Thorpe has set up gives players two extra days of instruction and lets coaches see how much knowledge players absorb weekly.

“I feel like it’s better than a camp because we are getting them for five days,” Thorpe said. “It also raises the excitement level about basketball because they are looking forward to it each week over an extended time rather than just three days, and they are done.”

Another added benefit is Thorpe’s volunteer student coaches are getting an eye-opening experience.


“I think our kids get a ton out of it. Every kid thinks, oh, I know the game of basketball,” Thorpe said. “That’s until they must try to break it down and teach somebody the game, so I think it helps them tremendously.”

The varsity girls and coaches deal with different teams and stay within the University Interscholastic League rules by not being in the same gyms.

“We want to give our kids an opportunity to be successful and get playing time,” Thorpe said. “There are no awards or contests because that’s not our focus, and we want the kids to have fun playing without those added pressures. The most important thing is they are playing basketball.”


League basketball isnt an idea geared toward establishing instant success but about building the hunger for girls basketball.

“We’ve got kids playing that have never been exposed to basketball. If we can give them a little hunger for it and get them liking it the next year, they’re going to be a little bit better,” Thorpe said. “The next year, they’ll be a little bit better. But if they don’t have the opportunity to play, they’ll never get better.”


THE COACH: Coach Alan Thorpe saw players falling behind and took action.

Mondays are also a day when Thorpe can skip his morning workout because he’s constantly on the go between the gyms.

“That’s why I am grateful to have the people here with me helping. We’ve got a wide range of people helping in this huge undertaking we’re trying to achieve. It gives me the freedom to move around,” Thorpe said. “I get to see the younger kids. I get to see the older kids because of the help I have, and I have the freedom to go back and forth.”

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