Junior varsity works to get noticed

team focuses on skills and positive mind-set

By Jessica Oakley, Staff Writer

When a newspaper reader thinks of basketball, or any sports coverage, for that matter, he or she tends to expect talk about a school’s high school varsity teams. However, junior varsity teams are also working hard behind the scenes.

An overall record of 4-6 (as of press time) may not look outstanding on paper, but the season is only half over.

“Our games are a little shaky, but we pull together in crucial moments,” freshman Mustang Isaac Vink said.

During a recent basketball practice, the IHS JV boys all work together on drills. When it is time to work on individual skills, they separate to get down to details in smaller groups.

“We find it very important to have them work together and separately so they can get to know each other as well as themselves,” coach Luke Bycroft said. “They seem to work well as a whole and individually. In their games, if one player is down, it tends to pull the entire team down, and they cannot do that to themselves.

“When we work in practice, if one member is down, we try very hard to get the boys to positively bring them back up again. A simple slap on the back or an encouraging ‘good job’ is a great way to motivate.”

Sophomore JV player Mason Ingle points out that he likes working with the upperclassmen during practice because they are good role models.

“I know my fellow classmates may not like it as much,” he admitted, “because they want to be noticed as a good underclassmen.”

Players do notice that many people pay more attention to the varsity side of things, and not only spectators.

The IHS Mustang Sound pep band only plays during varsity games, sophomore Braden Plumlee said, and the JV players “want them there to pump [us] up too. We would also like it more if more people came to our games to pump us up and so we know that we have fans other than our parents.”

As for improvement, “there is always room” for that, freshman JV player Ethan Holloway said.

The players say they strive during practice to improve on what they messed up on during recent games.

“We try to be very repetitive and work on many things we are not good with during games,” coach Nick McAnulty said.

There are 15 JV players, and many of them get some varsity time as well. Among them are three freshman: Holloway, Evan Sigg and Vink.

Recent Results

Right after the new year began, the varsity Mustangs went 1-2 in matchups with Anderson County, Wellsville and Osawatomie. At the Burlington tournament Jan. 20-24, they went 0-3, before losing a 37-42 contest with Chanute at home Jan. 30 and dominating Santa Fe Trail 56-37 on Feb. 3. The next game was set for Feb. 10 at Central Heights.