It's no secret strong youth sports programs are integral building blocks for a successful high school program.
And more informed youth coaches lead to a larger crop of talented young players.
The Northwest Conference has established itself historically as a league teeming with skilled basketball players and knowledgeable coaches. NWC schools have won state titles six of the past eight years.
Four league coaches are banding together to help ensure the league's rich tradition continues. Squalicum's Dave Dickson, Lynden's Brian Roper, Lynden Christian's Roger DeBoer and Meridian's Shane Stacy will be hosting a Youth Basketball Coaches' Clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Meridian High School.
"If you look at finishes at the state tournament, (the NWC) is well represented," Dickson said during a phone interview. "That has a lot to do with the quality of kids in the high school programs. We are all benefactors of that, and we want to help keep that cycle going. We want to talk about the art of coaching and also help youth coaches do a great job."
The clinic includes sessions on various basketball fundamentals taught by each coach. There will be a pizza lunch following the on-court sessions, and keynote speaker Mike Downs, a Hall of Fame coach, will give advice on successfully parenting athletic youth.
All three of Downs' sons were successful high school and college basketball players.
The cost to attend is $15, which is payable at the clinic or online at c9sportsjesse.tuosystems.com/stores/cloud9clinic.
Four coaches joining together to host a youth coaching clinic is quite unprecedented, Dickson said, and he hopes more coaches will get involved in the future if the camp is successful.
All youth coaches are welcome to attend. Dickson said any parents who want to learn ways to help advance their child's game also are welcomed.
FOWLER SHOWS DETERMINATION FOR SQUALICUM
Shaye Fowler played an instrumental role in helping the Squalicum girls' swim team remain undefeated after beating Ferndale 138-34 on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Fowler swam in two winning relay teams - the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay - as well as winning the 100 breaststroke. Her time of 1 minute, 15.70 seconds in the 100 breaststroke was a personal best, and she missed the state-qualifying time by just two seconds.
Aside from her three victories, Fowler also finished 0.3 seconds shy of winning the 100 freestyle.
"I'm not sure I've ever had a swimmer show so much heart and commitment during a swim season," Squalicum coach Steve Gibb said in an email. "Shaye was a doubtful participant this year due to some health issues, but (she) has battled through those challenges to have her best year ever. I predict a bright future for Shaye, and for her stepping up to be one of (the) future stars of Squalicum swimming."
BRICE PROVIDES DEFENSE FOR BELLINGHAM
Emma Brice may not have recorded a goal, or even an assist this year, but her impact on the defensive side of the ball is readily apparent for the Bellingham girls' soccer team.
"Emma has been a warrior for us in the back all season, having to make some of the best attacking players in our league," Bellingham coach Mark Wright said in an email.
Brice has been a key reason the Red Raiders (6-3-4, 5-2-2 NWC) are 2-1-1 over their past four games, surrendering just two goals in the process.
"She has been asked to play against physically demanding opponents all year, and (she) has shined in each opportunity," Wright said.
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.