Children in grades fourth through eighth working to improve skills on court
(Jan. 3, 2020) A new basketball program is available for boys ranging from fourth to eighth grade to better their skills on the court.
Shore Elite Basketball launched in early November. Two teams, comprised of fourth and fifth graders and sixth to eighth graders, are participating. There are 10 players on each team.
Practices and other basketball-related activities take place inside the Ocean Pines Community Center located at White Horse Park.
Loren Hershberger and Jake Tyre created Shore Elite Basketball. They are also both coaches.
“We looked around the area and said, ‘Our kids should be playing basketball right now and there’s really no opportunities,’” Hershberger said. “There’s the rec programs, which are fantastic and provide maybe one or two hours a week of games for the kids, but there’s no outlet out there for kids to focus and strive to be better basketball players if they really want to.”
Hershberger moved from Ohio to Worcester County almost a decade ago. He became friends with Tyre, who has lived in the area his whole life, and they were both avid basketball fans and players. Both men have three young children, which further inspired them to create the program.
Shore Elite Basketball currently offers practice twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays, typically from 6-8 p.m. As the season progresses, there could be an additional day of practice on Sundays.
“Every program provides a game experience for kids, and that’s great,” Hershberger said. “But if you want to get better than the competition that we have in Delaware, Virginia, or the Salisbury area, we need to have some sort of instruction going on.”
The teams have currently played against various Christian and private schools in scrimmages, and will begin playing in tournaments as early as March, he said. Some of these tournaments will even take place across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
“We’d like to get across the bridge at least once this year and show our kids what it’s like in some of these other areas that are playing a lot more basketball than us,” Hershberger said. “We wanted to be known as a program that is tough and plays hard-nosed basketball. We want kids to learn that now before they get to high school, because that’s when their basketball journey and ultimately basketball career could really take off.
“We’re working out of passion,” he continued. “Jake and myself both work full time. We both have three kids. This is something that we saw a need for. We encourage people if they have any ideas [and] comments how they can help us make this better for the kids.”
Children within the fifth to eighth grade age range are welcome to join practices to test their skills, though younger players with high enough skill levels will be welcomed into the teams as well.
While the two teams currently have enough players, official tryout dates for additional squads will be posted on the group’s Facebook page.
There are three packages offered for Shore Elite Basketball.
The base package is $650 per child, which includes the uniforms and a full schedule of practices and games as well as a mentoring program. The second package costs $1,200 and includes everything in the base package as well as the Nike basketball camp. The camp will take place at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, June 18-21.
“The Nike basketball camp comes to this side of the bridge one time per year,” Hershberger said. “My son did it last year … it’s a five-day, five-night sleep away camp.”
The final package for $1,500 includes all of the above as well as personal training from Hershberger and Tyre.
The organization will hold fundraisers to offset the costs for parents who want their children to participate and accept sponsorships.
“The cost is always a hard ask for a lot of folks,” Hershberger said. “We’ve got a lot of stuff planned to offset costs for parents, because we know that just based on the demographics of where we live, it can be a hardship for a lot of folks. So, we have fundraisers that we’re running actually right now.”
Parents with children interested in trying out for additional teams at a later date can reach out to Shore Elite Basketball at the Shore Elite Basketball Facebook page, or email Shoreelitebasketball@gmail.com.