Basketball season is still five months away, but local high school teams have already hit the hardwood.
Basketball teams from Evans, Greenbrier, Harlem and Lakeside meet once a week in June at different gyms throughout the county for another season of summer basketball.
Though tryouts have yet to take place and team rosters are far from a final draft, the basketball summer league gives teams a chance to play together. Most teams need the extra playing time.
"It helps the younger players a lot," said Cedric Boatner, a rising junior at Harlem High School. "Now they're starting to find out how it's going to be."
Many teams switch out players five at a time during the hourlong summer league games on Tuesday nights. Rising freshmen, who will attempt to make the leap from middle school basketball to high school play, will get a chance to learn the pace of a high school varsity game.
"It's good for them, and for the team as a whole," said Evans rising senior Jonathan Nicely. "We've got a lot of young people out here, so we're just trying to get everybody on the same page right now."
The Knights finished the 2006-07 season with the best record in the county, but lost three of their four post players to graduation. That will leave Nicely alone under the basket as the team's only experienced big man.
Nicely is taking his role on the team seriously - even in summer league play.
"Right now I'm just trying to be a leader and make the team better," he said. "I like it out here because you get to work on parts of your game that you might not get to work on normally. For me, it's my dribbling."
Summer basketball games will continue through the month of June, and fans can attend the games for free. Thursday's games will be at Evans High School and the June 28 games will take place at Greenbrier High School.
Evans basketball coach Kevin Kenny said his team is also participating in the Richmond County summer league games on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Harlem and Lakeside have both faced off against Augusta Christian Schools in extra summer league play this month.
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