Basketball is a winter sport - but the foundation for success can be forged months in advance during the heat of summer.

Girls basketball players at Orestimba have once again been taking part in summer drills, brushing up on fundamentals and developing a competitive edge in regular sessions that ran through the month of June.

The Lady Warriors played once a week in a summer league in Lathrop, head coach Scott Felber said, and met other weekdays for two-hour sessions in the Orestimba gym.

The program is designed for all players, from those coming in as freshman to those who already have three years of experience in the local program.

Even in the Lathrop matchups, Felber said, the goal is to get all players a taste of playing time, regardless of their level of experience.

Orestimba this summer has a particularly welcome problem, he added, as the attendance has been among the highest ever.

“We took 18 players up to Lathrop yesterday,” Felber said during a recent workout. “All the younger kids didn’t get that much playing time, so we had a scrimmage today with the older players coaching.

“This has definitely been the biggest turnout we have had,” Felber said of this summer’s program. “We’re excited. We haven’t had a summer like this before (in terms of attendance).”

The summer drills serve multiple purposes, he added.

“We want the girls to learn how to work together, and to see how we play defense,” Felber explained. “We spent the whole first week working on defensive fundamentals, and we threw in a little offense so that we could start getting that down.”

Coaches break drills down to specific fundamentals, he added, such as dribbling with the off-hand, shooting and more.

The summer drills are voluntary, but players who put in the work over the course of the summer have an advantage when official practices begin several months down the road.

“The players who are here in the summer know more, they have more experience and they had a chance to improve their skills,” Felber noted.

Players also have the opportunity to catch the eye of their coaches during the summer workouts.

Evaluation of players is ongoing, Felber said, and continues throughout the season.

“You start to see the young player is is not afraid to play against juniors and seniors, or the player who has a good shot and is not afraid to shoot the ball,” he said.

But overall, Felber said, the emphasis through the summer is simply one of improvement.

“Right now,” he commented, “we’re just worried about everybody getting better during the summer.”