WHEATON – Having started out with a single team in August of last year, The Truth Basketball program based in Wheaton quickly grew to three girls squads by September.
Now that number is up to five (eighth grade, two seventh grade, sixth grade and fifth grade) as year two is set to begin.
The Truth was a brainchild of Ryan Haun, who began his career on the sidelines as the head women's coach at the University of St. Francis before being a part of another travel organization for three years. Tim Kohn, who previously worked as an assistant at St. Francis and Aurora University, was brought on as a coach while Margaret Moriarty, who has daughters in the program, is the general manager.
"We definitely want the product to grow, but a lot of programs fail when they try to grow too fast," Haun said. "We feel two teams a year is an appropriate growth level. We want to be here for a long time."
Having started out with 10 players, The Truth will have upwards of 50 involved in 2014-15. Thus far, though there is a large concentration of players from Wheaton, others come from towns like Glen Ellyn and La Grange as well as Elgin, Hampshire and Geneva.
"Kids have come from all over and we take pride in that," Haun said. "We want to provide the opportunity for these kids to be able to play."
The program has a fall/winter and spring/summer season with close to 30 games played each season. Practice time is also an important part of the process.
"We try to keep it around 30 games per season," Haun said, "and we value practice. We try to practice two times for every single game; we can't help make you better without practice."
The Truth saw plenty of success in the opening year.
The inaugural sixth-grade team (now incoming seventh graders) placed first at the AAU state tournament in April and then finished in the top-20 at the AAU National Tournament in Tennessee in June. Members of that team were Lexi Moriarty, Olivia Showman, Lily Courier, Eliza Snyder, Danielle Dorilio, Christine Corpuz, Kathryn Schmidt, Olivia Ross, Julia Henrikson, Natalie Johnson and Lindsay Blackmore.
"I usually like the teams to play one level up," said Haun, who coached the team along with Kohn, "but that sixth grade team played at the eighth grade level all year long. In the winter we struggled but they turned the corner and when they got to state and got to play their own age level, they saw how much they had grown.
"And Nationals is always a thrill. I love it for those kids. Playing one to two games for five or six straight days against the best competition nationally, it was great so see where they ranked. It was very cool for them. They got to see what really good teams look like and know that they could compete with those teams."
Tryouts for the upcoming season take place Aug. 17 and 24 at Central Athletic Center in Wheaton. Visit www.thetruthbball.com for more information.
Sports to your phone
Visit http://shawurl.com/texts to sign up and receive sports scores and alerts from Suburban Life.