ANNA – With newly-hired Lady Coyotes Head Coach Justin Baldia away on a long-planned vacation, Football Assistant Coach Brandon Powell ran the girls basketball camp that was held June 25-28 at Anna High School.

And on day one, it was clear he knew exactly what he was doing. Drills were sharp and organized, his commands concise and timely. Dribbling relay races, passing drills and more came off smartly, as kids from kindergarten on up responded with plenty of spark.

“This is my first camp that I’ve been over,” Powell said. “But, I’ve been coaching basketball for 10 years. And out of those 10, eight years I’ve assisted with camps. So I know little bit about it.”

Besides Anna, Powell has coached at Leonard, Denison, Irving Nimitz and Rowlett. He currently coaches defensive backs for Coyotes football.

Powell said that no matter the age or sport, there are a few things that children respond best to in coaching.

“Honesty and fairness,” Powell said. “I think kids know when you’re sincere and when you’re not - and when you genuinely care about them and not. Kids have a really good knack of knowing that. For me, I just make sure I’m very sincere in anything I say and do with the kids.”

About 30 girls participated in this year’s camp, spread across two sessions each day: kindergarten through fourth grade in the morning and fifth through ninth after lunch.

Assisting Powell on the court were Anna varsity girls assistant coaches Tifney Kelly and Charles Leslie.

“I love the innocence about them,” Kelly said while working with the younger ones. “They are so delighted and so happy just to be here. With that attitude you can teach them anything because they’re willing to learn. They hustle, they work hard and you can see when that light bulb goes off. There’s no attitude.”

As for new coach Baldia coming aboard, Kelly said that she is excited.

“I’m excited for the girls,” she said. “I’m excited for the season. I know he will come in here and kill it.”

Recently-graduated Lady Coyote guard Hannah Heath also helped out with camp. Heath lost most of her junior and senior seasons due to back-to-back knee injuries requiring surgery. Her most recent operation was six months ago.

“It’s just really exciting seeing all these little kids so happy to play a sport that I grew up loving,” she said. “They have so much energy and so much potential … and they’re starting so young.”

Cameron Cerveny, 7, a camp veteran, said she liked shooting the deep ball most. And she still remembers learning the triple threat position from last year – a shoot-pass-or-dribble stance that she nimbly demonstrated.

Another return customer, Callie Snodgrass, 8, said she liked “that our coach is fun and nice.” Her favorite part of this game is ball handling.

“Actually, probably dribbling,” she said.