JV Teams Keep Their Eyes on the Prize

Freshman Jayden Paine on defense for the Cubs [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

Both of South Fork High’s JV teams are struggling to win games this season. Fortunately for them and for the overall good of the Cub basketball program, they both have coaches who understand that junior varsity is a developmental stage of playing and that as long as progress is being made, fun and success can be had.

Both teams are comprised of nearly all freshmen, and the transition from junior high sports to even a JV level can be difficult. The time commitment, along with the adjustment to the high school schedule, the homework demand of college prep classes many South Fork athletes take, and suddenly being at the bottom of the heap in a new school can take their toll. Without sophomores on the team to provide leadership and an example that there is life after the freshman year, players have got to find their own way to become a high school athlete.

South Fork’s JV boys get ready to rebound against Ferndale [Photo by Janice Coffelt]

The JV boys, coached by Brett Van Meter and Kelly Paine have won a few games and even brought home a second place trophy from an early season tourney. “It’s not so much about the final score but the effort. We are getting better every day. Our guys are understanding the game plan, the defense, etc.  Jayden Paine continues to drive our engine, rarely coming out of the game and constantly being guarded by the other team’s more experienced players.  Chris Arbuthnot (a junior) is another player who has really been stepping up for us. He has his outside shot working and has been really improving on both ends of the court. Elijah Roberts is another player who really deserves some recognition. He is diving for loose balls, fighting for rebounds, and is probably our most versatile player,” says Van Meter.

Banyan Harding, Austin Worrell, Cobi Goodkind, Zeph Barrios, Derek Baldwin, and Ayden Gallagher all are part of Van Meter’s plan to make the varsity team better in the future, which is what a JV program is designed to do.

The JV girls are coached by Thomas Mulder and are all freshmen, with the sophomore players being pulled up to fill out the varsity roster. “Our defense has really improved. I am having them play man help all the time so they can build their skills to match up with other teams. I feel having them play man teaches them to learn to move their feet more and be active on the defensive side rather than relaxed in a zone.


Paloma Avilez takes a jumpshot against Ferndale [Photo by Jennifer McClure]

“Our offense still has a lot of work to do and it’s hard to implement new aspects of our offense when the whole team doesn’t make every practice. Mirna Navarrete and Paloma Avilez give 100% the whole game. Carolina Pineda has really improved on defense and is getting more confidence on offense. Rachel Bautista has improved on defense. Hailie Haslip has gotten confidence to drive the ball to the hoop. Jennifer Martinez has no fear to drive the ball to the hoop. Shayla Bilandzija has improved on defense and fights for rebounds and she has an accurate shot. Miranda Femenella has improved all around and is getting more confidence dribbling the ball after fighting for a rebound.”

The JVs are building the skills and tactics they will need to advance to the next level. Guided with patience and realistic goals they are getting a lot of valuable playing experience in a challenging league. The strength and character that come from that effort are what high school sports are all about.

Jenny Martinez protects the ball [Photo by Jennifer McClure]



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