FORT THOMAS — With school out, high school sports have a chance to spend some extra time refining and improving their teams, including basketball. This year, Fort Thomas Summer Ball hosts Safford, Thatcher, Pima, Morenci, Willcox and Valley Union.

Thatcher sat out Wednesday due to another school backing out of the month-long event. The games are played in two fast-paced, 20-minute halves with modified rules to keep the game as close to 40 minutes in duration as possible.

Week one’s results were as follows:

Pima defeated Valley Union, 40-12

Pima defeated Safford, 27-20

Safford defeated Valley Union, 28-15

Morenci defeated Willcox, 34-13

Fort Thomas defeated Willcox, 41-19

Morenci defeated Fort Thomas, 35-30

Willcox head coach Phillip Steward said, “All of them are young, most of them juniors. I’m going to have to get my young girls ready. I have eight freshmen coming in. I’ve got to get them the experience now, instead of wait for the regular season and they go into shock. Tonight, I played a couple of bouts of just freshmen to see how they could handle it. We’ve been lifting weights. To be good, you’ve got to do these things.”

Pima head coach Roy Corona said, “Being head coach feels good. It’s going to be different because it’s 2A. I’m used to 1A, but I’ve got some girls. We’re young, but they’re fast. We’ll keep working hard.”

Safford head coach Robert Abalos said, “We’ve come a long way. Most are playing club and high school basketball. They’re double-dipping doing both. We’ve got to get our young kids in your gym and getting things done. We’ve got some returnees that are doing good leadership roles. We’re basic right now. As the summer goes, we’ll progress. We have the energy to do it. They’re getting better, more comfortable and more confident.”

Fort Thomas head coach Lee Haws said, “Summer is an opportunity to get better, work on your individual skills and mesh as a team, to evaluate what you have as a coach. It’s always a little bit tough because you’re not in shape. They will be better when they’re in shape, but when you’re tired, you’ve still got to play and fight through the fatigue. We’ve got three more weeks, and we’ll continue to try and get better.”

Morenci head coach Albert Ortega said, “It’s been tough getting a good group together with other things going on, but the ones that have been showing up are really working hard. This league is the first time most of our girls have played together.”

The next round of games is at Fort Thomas on June 12, starting at 6 p.m. in both gymnasiums.

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