A coach for the Stateline Stingers shouted instructions to a student as she missed the mark on a layup. The next time she did one… it dropped nicely off the glass into the hoop.
“Off the left foot… left foot!” “Use the other foot… get the rebound!” Students adjusted their efforts as another coach shouted out his instructions. The pace was fast. “Come on,” shouted the coach. “Run, run, run!!”
At the other end of the barn students were warming up for their evening session. A dozen basketballs were flying toward the hoop, some dropping in, some missing. Another coach was watching and making suggestions.
Off to the side several other students were taking practice shots. Students are allowed to come in and practice whether they have a class that evening or not.
“I started this in 2007 with my nephew in Richmond and my best friend’s daughter,” said Marcia Doner on Dec. 12. “By 2010 I started splitting classes into boys and girls. Now I have seven teams with 67 kids.”
Doner has teams for boys and girls in grades five/six, grade four, grades two/three and a Y-team, K-1 boys and girls together.
“Some of my first Stingers are now starters on Tri-Village’s seventh grade teams. Four for the girls and four for the boys.”
Doner’s training program is rigorous. She teaches students the basketball basics and runs them through various exercises. They do full court 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 passing and layup drills.
“We run plays as well,” she added. Every Sunday her Stateline Stingers play in the Richmond League, as many as eight to 12 games in one day. They have a combined 10-7 record against the larger schools in Indiana.
“I promote winning,” she said. “Everyone gets equal practice time and most kids get level playing time… but I don’t promote it,” she added.
All kids have to maintain excellent academics. To address that, Doner has tutoring sessions on Monday nights. She works with 10 kids on Mondays; and has two high school students and one college student available for individual tutoring.
“They have to get good grades,” she said, “but I don’t require it then leave it up to them… if they need help, they get it.”
When Doner started her program she was using the high school and elementary school gyms. As her group grew, and following the remodeling of the gyms, she was no longer able to use them. Adam Hollinger of Hollinger Farms and Hollinger Trucking, donated a barn for their use. He recently installed heating so it could be used year-round.
“We thank Mr. Hollinger for his generosity,” Doner said. “And we’ve invested over $10,000 in the program itself. Basketballs, six goals… refurbished floor.” She noted $2,000 of the investment was her own money.
Doner was also grateful for all the others who have stepped up and helped. Four Tri-Village graduates are helping: Shay Brubaker, Haedon Schlecty, Cindy Neeman and Tyler Garland. Other Stinger coaches are Troy Porter, Leah Scantland and Tyler Garland. Raya Mikesell keeps score on Sundays.
Porter and Scantland were off to the side watching as Doner lined the boys and girls along one wall to practice different ball-handling techniques.
“Trisa Porter (Troy’s daughter) does the left hand like a natural,” Scantland said. “We force them to do this… then in games we see them execute. They practice fast breaking the ball,” she added. “Marcia taught them all of that.”
Porter said the kids are disciplined. They run the right plays.
“Our objective… by the time they get to high school all these things will be second nature to them,” he added.
Scantland said Doner works a full time job but she still attends every student event – including music and other activities – she possibly can.
Doner’s slogan for the Stingers is “Beyond the Game.”
They are taught to play well but also to give back to the community. They went to the Brethren Retirement Community for Halloween and recently raised over 70 gifts for the St. Joseph’s Orphanage.
|“Are you here to take pictures?” “Yep. Want your picture taken?” Lauren shrugged, and continued practicing. When the time came, she was happy to pose. (Bob Robinson photo)|
|Marcia Doner stands with her first student, Lissa Siler. Lissa is in the sixth grade, started while in kindergarten. She hopes to be the next Kayla Linkous or Teha Richards. (Bob Robinson photo)|
|One of the drills Marcia Doner requires is dribbling and ball-handling dexterity. (Bob Robinson photo)|