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Exam week alters practice schedules

January 15, 2014 

It’s exam week for area high schools which means there are basically no games until Friday night as students get more time to focus on the end of the semester tests without game nights to compound the stress level.

Area coaches approach the different week in a lot of the same ways. Practice time comes earlier in the day with the shortened school days for the exam periods.

Veteran Garner boys basketball coach Eddie Gray likes the fact that the early end to the school day allows his student-athletes to get home before 4 p.m.

The Trojans had a day off Monday, then resumed normal practices Tuesday.

“We try not to keep anybody here after 4 o’clock so they have plenty of time to get their studying done,” Gray said. “It works out real well. I haven’t had any problems. Academics come first.”

South Johnston girls coach Ronda Langdon Johnson tries to make sure her team stays sharp on offense. So the Trojans’ drills in their hour-long practices focus on shooting and offensive skills.

But the biggest concern for her is keeping the team’s conditioning level up without games. “You don’t want to lose their conditioning going a week or more without playing,” she said.

The boys basketball team at Corinth Holders will conduct tighter practices with a one-hour limit.

“We’ll work on skill development with our bigs (forwards, centers) and littles (guards) in area specific drills, then come back together for some scrimmaging,” said Pirates coach Chris Davis. “We cut out some of the normal drills, but make sure we don’t waste any time going from one thing to the next.

“We make sure we get some scrimmage time in so we simulate some of that game action we’re missing.”

Southeast Raleigh, which works on a modified year-round schedule, does not have exams to deal with this week. But the Bulldogs girls team doesn’t play again until Friday so they’ll adjust their practice schedules and goals as well.

Southeast’s boys played Broughton on Tuesday night, so coach John Baker said his team will have a normal week of practice.

Bulldogs’ girls coach Nicole Meyers admits this is a week her team looks forward to.

“We’ll cut back,” she said. “ I give them a couple of days off and then we will come back together to get ready for the next one. They love this week.”

Here’s hoping all area students get a little bit of that same feeling this week with successful exams. Or if nothing else, a bit of relief come Friday once the exam period is over.

Bill Woodward contributed.

Best: 919-524-8895 or cbest@newsobserver.com; Twitter: @dclaybest

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