Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Matchbox Was Abuzz with Activity on Saturday

The City of Apalachicola Youth Center a.k.a. The Matchbox was abuzz with activity yesterday resulting from an all-girls basketball clinic and scrimmage conducted by Coach Marty Stubblefield out of Tallahassee.  Coach Stubblefield, is the founder and director of the Tallahassee Storm Middle and High School Girls AAU Basketball Program. He is also the Director of Financial Institutions at the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. 

Coach Stubblefield was brought in at the behest of Helen Willis-Escobar to hone the basketball skills of the Apalachicola Sharks girl’s youth basketball teams. Willis-Escobar operates the youth center under a partnership-agreement with the city, which allows her to develop and oversee programs at the facility.

“Coach Stubblefield is a good friend. When he built the Tallahassee Storm Program, after the first year, he had so many girls at the same age group as our wanting to join, that he decided to create three teams instead of one”, said Willis-Escobar.

The coach traveled to Apalachicola and The Matchbox on Saturday with his traveling girls’ basketball squad to conduct the clinic and to scrimmage against the Apalachicola Sharks girls team.

“The clinic was an excellent opportunity for our girls and a huge success… Coach Stubblefield taught them a range of skills.  Four players from his team last year, accompanied him to Apalachicola to help mentor our girls as well”, Willis-Escobar said.

“The hope is to continue doing these sorts of clinics several times throughout the year”.

In March of this year Willis-Escobar brought in World traveled Nike Skill Development Trainer and Workout Director, Ganon Baker, to work with both the girls and boys at The Matchbox.  Baker had previously worked with NBA greats such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Vince Carter.

As of late, Willis-Escobar have been in talks about Apalachicola and The Matchbox with Dennis Gates, FSU assistant basketball coach and head recruiter. As a result of their conversation, Coach Gates expressed an interest in visiting Apalachicola to donate some time, and become involved in the program at The Matchbox, to an extent in which the NCAA will allow. Gates is nationally recognized as one of the top recruiters in all of college basketball.

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