Jul. 2—NORWALK — After a one-year absence, the Norwalk girls basketball summer league officially wrapped up on Monday.
The league consisted of 13 nearby teams, including six local Reflector area programs. Games were contested every Monday for the month of June ...
With schools shutdown a year ago at the height of the pandemic, there was no summer league in 2020.
"Each team basically played a doubleheader every Monday," Norwalk girls varsity head coach Brock Manlet said. "It was a really good mixture of schools that competed."
Bellevue, which won the SBC Lake Division and a Division II district championship last season, competed in the league, as did fellow Lake Division members Clyde, Perkins and Vermilion.
Other teams included Edison, Margareta and Willard from the SBC Bay Division, along with Seneca East from the Northern 10 Conference and Danbury from the SBC River Division. From the Firelands Conference, Monroeville, St. Paul and Western Reserve participated.
Margaretta and Willard shared the SBC Bay championship last season, with the Crimson Flashes going on to beat the Polar Bears for a Div. III district title in the third meeting in March. Seneca East was a district finalist in Div. IV, after it defeated St. Paul in a district semifinal.
"There was a nice representation of several teams that were conference champions and made good runs in the tournament," Manlet said. "It was mighty nice to play good competition, but it was extra special when it's against local teams."
Manlet said there was no way to measure how great it felt to be back in the gym during the offseason, but noted it was a breath of fresh air.
"Being able to have a normal summer was so great for us," he said. "It was something we definitely missed last year. This summer has allowed us to get better as a team, but the team bonding that comes with a normal summer is what we missed the most in 2020.
"To me, that will benefit us more than anything going into the upcoming season."
Last season, Norwalk finished with a record of 10-10 (5-7 Lake). It had won five of their last six games before a tournament loss to Vermilion. Norwalk graduated four seniors from last season, including leading scorer and rebounder Elena Barber (10.2 points, 7.7 rebounds).
Junior Brooklyn Davis (7.0 points, 5.9 rebounds) along with Summer Moehlman, Kylie and Shyanne Moser and Joscey Thomas will be among the key returners in 2021-22. An incoming freshman class that played for the Lake Division title last season will also be mixed in between the junior varsity and varsity teams.
"We had a great summer overall, and in particular a great summer league," Manlet said. "We were able to play a lot of kids and got them valuable floor time against other varsity teams, and we were able to start to get comfortable with one another during a game setting.
"We are still very young, so all the court time we could get was beneficial to us."