Lily Loewenguth and Grace Paparo
As winter approaches a new season of sports arrives. The Jamesville-DeWitt Varsity Boys Basketball team and Varsity Cheerleading is gearing up for this season. Both of the teams have welcomed new members as well as many returning players.
The boys have had a shaky start to their season with a record of 3-2 compared to their undefeated start of last year’s first five games. They have lost to Fayetteville-Manlius along with Nottingham. “FM was a good game even though they’re a class AA school,” said senior Luke Smith. Senior captain Takuya LaClair. LaClair agreed, despite JD’s loss.
Some think that it is because they lost last year’s star player, Buddy Boeheim. “When you lose a player of (Buddy’s) caliber… you lose scoring and you lose rebounding, but I think in games we’ve definitely adjusted,” said Physical Education teacher and Head Coach Jeff Ike. “He was a big part of our team, but we’re handling it pretty well,” added senior captain Takuya LaClair.
Ending in a final record of 9-2, the team just fell short of the state championship last year, losing to the evential state champions Irondequoit in the semis. In spite of their record this year, the team hopes to make it to back again and bring home the win. “The ultimate goal is always the same, to get into the last game of the season and have a shot at the state championship,” said Coach Ike. In order to get there it takes “a lot of hard work and dedication in practice,” said sophomore Payton Shumpert, a new player and student to J-DHS and former student-athlete of Christian Brothers Academy.
CBA has been our biggest rival for many years and is ranked AA this year in sectionals, while we’re ranked A. “CBA is always a big competitor, always a pretty good team,” said senior Luke Smith. Other tough teams are Bishop Grimes, Syracuse Academy of Science and Notre Dame from Utica, who are top teams in Class A basketball. “Our sectional games is where there will be tough, hard-fought games,” said Coach Ike.
Motivation is a key part in every game. To LaClair the key to being motivated is to “lock in” before every game. He also adds “when the other team is chirping it makes me want to work harder.” Coach Ike says “the games are supposed to be fun, practice is hard enough that they should be self-motivated...you have to play hard and work hard.”
The Varsity Cheer team has had a successful return. Of the 17 cheerleaders,15 showed off their skills during football season. “The team has come a long way from having five cheerleaders last year,” said junior Malysha Espey. There has been a strong bond created between the team during this season. Before each game the team “gets ready together, warms up together, and goes over the cheers, added Espey. “Cheering takes up 70 percent of our lives and requires a lot of hard work,” said freshman Toniann Pink. “As a cheerleader it is important to the team to set a good example for younger children who look up to many of them, we have to remember that we are happy cheerleaders no matter if the team is winning or losing… it is also important to them to make a good impression for our school,” said Pink.