Junior Varsity Basketball sticks together on and off the field

Players bonded by their shared love of the game. For the love of speed, adrenaline, and spin. Every day the players put on their jerseys and lace the shoes that will shuffle them across the court.

Minutes later — they go out to play.

Sophomore JV girls basketball player Katya Tappan smiles everytime her team is mentioned.

“I love my team so much,” she said. “Everyone is friends and everyone loves each other. It’s like a family.”

According to JV Girls Coach Joanna Wilcox, the girls bond has been a staple to the teams success — as they are currently 13-1 going into Friday’s game.

“We have a variety of ages,” Wilcox said. “So we have sophomores, freshmen and eighth graders, and it’s actually impressive how sophomores are interacting a lot with eighth graders or you know, vice versa.”

“We just connect for some reason,” Tappan added. “And every one is just so nice and we lookout for each other…We are not afraid to tell each other our flaws and our weaknesses and we motivate each other.”

Throughout the practices Wilcox has made it a point to highlight the players’ weaknesses as a way for them to learn from their mistakes. It’s a coaching style she calls “Fun-but-Intense.”

“I’m not shy,” Wilcox said. “ I’ll definitely tell them how to improve what I think is going on. I love for the girls to have a good time, but I also want them to be very disciplined. So for example, if there is mistakes that is made they either run for those at practice or something else..”

Tappan supports her coach’s “Fun-but-Intense” styles and appreciates how it has taught them, in more ways than one, to be better players.

“It [The system] changes how we play and we could definitely see the improvements which makes us a lot better. One things is we don’t go wide on the basketball court, that is one thing she talks about a lot, and ever since we have done that we’ve been able to make a lot of points,” she said.

They also learned how to manage emotions — how to phase out the roaring crowd in the background and the board flashing a one-point difference and take control of the ball.

“This year has helped them at an increased the level of playing for basketball,” Wilcox said. “I think just having to buckle down and understand how to play defense and how to play offense in certain situations has helped them this year.”

For the rest of the season the JV girls have shifted their attention to winning the region title. This entails winning the five games they have left, including the game against Goose Creek on Feb., and maintaining the best record in the region.

But beyond all of this, Coach Wilcox hopes that they continue to preserve and learn from their JV experience.

Assistant JV boys coach Calvin Craft holds the same hopes for his team.

“Our goal from the start is just growth,” Craft said. “Growing, learning from mistakes, minimizing those, and showing that… Because I think this group has the potential to be a good team.”

Sophomore JV Boys Captain Sam Funk understands his coaches intentions and encourages himself and other players to execute it everyday on the courts.
“We work hard at practices just going up against Varsity… because that’s just better competition,” Funk said. “Just putting blood, sweat, and tears into the game.”
The system Craft and Head Coach Chris Warzynski has implemented is cross-team scrimmages, and the analogy Craft likes to call “touching the oven” — aka learning from past mistakes.

“This group has had to touch the oven maybe a couple of times to figure out it is hot,” Craft said.
“That’s part of the process….we have made too many mistakes some of these games in the wrong time, and that is part of the learning process.”

Funk said it is easy to become caught up in high school adversities both inside and off the courts. And through learning from their mistakes through basketball, team members have been taught to manage them in both places.

“They [the coaches] explained that if you guys want to be good on the court, you have to take care of things off the court,” Funk said “You can’t get involved in something you are not supposed to be in. You just got to keep in the lines outside so you are able to focus on inside the lines when you are playing.”

The JV boys currently have a record of 6-9 and are hoping for a win against Goose Creek this Feb. 1.

But again, wins do not constitute everything.