Brandon Tagle makes a dribble move on a fast break for the Kentwood summer league team. BEN RAY, The Reporter

Brandon Tagle makes a dribble move on a fast break for the Kentwood summer league team. BEN RAY, The Reporter

Summer hoops league preps Kentwood with experience

Conks focus on consistency and execution.

Kentwood hoops were back in action at the Auburn Summer League at Auburn High School inside the Bob Jones Gymnasium.

The Conks’ young core can’t necessarily be called a “young core” anymore with all the basketball they played together this past season and now over the summer.

“We’re putting forth good effort. Even though guys come back, roles change and guys improve in different areas, expanding their game,” Head Coach Blake Solomon said.

Including a playoff win over Graham-Kapowsin, Kentwood had a successful season this past year. The boys’ togetherness on and off the court is something that coach Solomon is excited to see grow over the summer.

“We’re having a barbecue and playing some yard games at my house, trying to build some more off the court stuff because that’s super important... We want to make sure we’re as strong on the court, as we are off of it,” Solomon said.

Summer league is all about development, wins and losses take a back seat. And for Solomon, the key is focus and work ethic: “It’s mainly about consistency. We want our guys to make sure we’re bringing it every game.”

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On June 21, the Conks played two games throughout the evening with a break in between. That break gave Solomon and the team a challenge.

“It’s about having a consistent mindset of attacking each game and trying to get something out of each game,” he said.

A caveat to playing so many summer league games is the schedule is a bit different. At this point, the Conks are only playing games, and sometimes up to six games in a weekend. That number of games can sometimes cause bad habits.

“It’s nice to be around each other every day. But then sometimes it’s not nice. In a season, you play some games, have film and then prep,” Solomon said. “Out here you’re playing six games in a weekend and the tendencies of guys get on you a little bit and wear you down. We’re fighting through that.”

Coach Solomon has found some things out about what he wants Kentwood’s identity to be over the next season.

“We have to root everything we do in defensive stops. We have so many guys who can score the ball. Sometimes they get in the mode of ‘We can just outscore guys.’ That can work at times, but in season against good teams, you can’t outscore everyone,” Solomon said.

So it’s an adjustment that Kentwood has to make in getting gritty on defense: “Finally we’ve been able to root ourselves defensively, which is something I think we’re getting better at,” he said.

The Conks will most likely shut down after the Auburn Summer League and won’t get back to team play until tryouts in November.


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Kentwood’s Corey Tita catches a pass from Brandon Tagle against Stadium in a summer league game. BEN RAY, The Reporter

Kentwood’s Corey Tita catches a pass from Brandon Tagle against Stadium in a summer league game. BEN RAY, The Reporter

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