South Fork JV Hoops Wrap-up

Mirna Navarrete turned into a stron point guard this season according to coach Thomas Mulder [Photo by Jennifer McClure]

South Fork High School’s junior varsity basketball teams wrapped up their seasons last week with home games against Hoopa. Both teams struggled to win games this year, but kept their spirits up by playing together through thick and thin, and focusing on the little things that show progress and redefine success.

Shaylaray Bilandzija on defense against Hoopa [Photo by Jennifer McClure]

The girls were coached by Thomas Mulder. The entire team was made up of freshmen and to make the difficult transition from middle school sports to the high school stage is a tough assignment when there are no sophomores on the team to help new players learn the ropes. Some of the girls were pulled up to varsity at the end of the season when a varsity player became injured, so a lot of very valuable experience was gained by the young Lady Cubs.

“I’m very proud of the whole team improving their skills throughout the season. They stuck with it and battled through some very challenging games . This season was about helping build and improve their skills and knowledge of the game to better prepare them for the junior varsity and varsity level. The whole team was all freshmen competing at a JV level which was challenging at times,” said Mulder.


The jv boys were also a young team, with just one sophomore and one junior among a mostly freshman squad. Brett Van Meter was the head coach and Kelly Paine assisted.

Jayden Paine pulling up for a jumper [Photo by Jennifer McClure]

“Kelly and I both felt that wins would be hard to come by this season and they were, but we also felt that there was a lot of raw talent that just needed opportunity. Well, with only nine players and most games played with only seven or eight opportunity is what they got.”

Chris Arbuthnot, the team’s only junior, stepped into a leadership role for the Cubs. He has a strong outside shot and developed considerable confidence over the season.

Ayden Gallagher was the team’s only sophomore and was a regular starter at shooting guard as well as filling in as point guard when necessary.

Zeph Barrios protecting the ball [Photo by Jennifer McClure

Freshman “Jayden Paine was simply our heart and soul. Clearly our most advanced player, Jayden quickly established himself as ‘the player’ who other teams focused on.” Jayden has a variety of offensive tools, shooting well from behind the arc, driving to the hoop with moves, and pulling up for the jumper. “Jayden handles the ball better than any player I saw at the jv level all year,” said Van Meter. The Cubs relied on Jayden for his leadership and maturity throughout the season. Jayden fit well onto the varsity roster at the end of the season and figures to play varsity next year.

Freshman Zeph Barrios was “our defensive and rebounding specialist,” according to Van Meter. Freshman Cobi Goodkind came off the bench to fill a variety of roles for the jvs. “Cobi has an accurate shot and will play a lot next year as a sophomore.”

Freshman Austin Worrell was the team’s center.”Perhaps our hardest worker, Austin was by far our best rebounder,” said Van Meter. Worrell was often the team’s top scorer and he “showed tremendous improvement.”

Freshman Derrick Baldwin is a smart hard-working player who catches on to practice drills “better than anyone, and he understands offensive concepts very well.”

Freshman Elijah Roberts was the first man off the bench for the Cubs. “He was probably our most versatile player”, often playing as many as four positions in a single game. “He always played tough and inspired basketball.”

Of freshman Banyan Harding coach Van Meter said, “Banyan was our star forward and is an advanced player who could make varsity next year if he puts in the work over the summer.” Banyan has a soft touch on his shot and often led the jvs in scoring.

The jv players will have opportunities to work on their game in summer leagues and with the experience gained this season, the future of South Fork Cub basketball looks bright.



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