Wallenpaupack Area's boys basketball JV squad is thriving under Coach Jim McGinnis
Avid concert goers know that sometimes the opening act can prove to be just as entertaining as the top billed band.
Anyone showing up early to Buckhorns games knows this is just as true when it comes to basketball.
The younger Bucks have been hot on the hardwood, racking up nine wins so far while dropping only four bouts to their opponents.
Coach Jim McGinnis, proud of the work his team has done so far, shared some comments and insight about the and season his players.
"We've had a very productive year so far. Honesdale beat us at the buzzer and Delaware Valley has a JV team heavy with juniors, so that was a tough game from the start," Coach McGinnis said.
"Our other losses were to East Stroudsburg South in a tournament and an exhibition game against Dunmore.
"A lot of the players have really developed since we started practicing back in November."
There's a wide mix of kids on this particular team.
Freshmen, sophomores, and a few juniors comprise Paupack's roster.
Leading the squad are junior Jamal Blandling and sophomore TJ Root.
"Jamal and TJ definitely both have been a key to the success, they look good to be full-time Varsity players next year," said Coach McGinnis.
"Since they both also play on the Varsity squad, sometimes we have to send them off early to get ready for those games, when that happens, there's always someone else who steps up."
Sophomores John Pillar and Mac Jeffries as well as freshman Rashawn Battle are typical go-to players when Root and Blandling depart from the scene.
"John likes to play hard." Coach McGinnis said. "He's a good rebounder and likes to play down low and inside.
"Mac gives good leadership on the court. A lot of players look to him for direction. Rashawn has been coming on very strong lately. He's been averaging 20 points a game and playing well all over the court."
Paupack's young skipper emphasizes building defensive skills and speed with the JV squad but recognizes a need to have well rounded players as well.
While there's always room for improvement, he feels they've come a long way and have improved in shooting and offensive play overall.
Team spirit is also up.
"The team chemistry has really changed over the past few weeks," he admits,
"We've gotten used to each other on and off the court and there's a lot of camaraderie. Everyone is having fun and that wasn't the way it always was in years past."
Some of that good feeling can be attributed to upperclassmen from the varsity squad who take time to mentor underclassmen.
"The younger players all look up to the seniors," McGinnis said. "Guys like Eric Miller and Jake Brown spend time with them to help them improve their game. This means a lot to both the younger kids as well as the older guys."
More than halfway through the season, the Buckhorns still have yet to face Honesdale and DV a second time.
Both home games, McGinnis feels his team will fare better than the previous engagements.
A home stand against North Pocono is also on the slate as will be the season closer against Scranton on February 13, so there are still a few opportunities to catch the JV squad in action before they wrap up what looks to be a winning season.
Upcoming Home Games. All start times 6:00pm
•1/25 vs Honesdale
•1/30 vs North Pocono
•2/08 vs DV
•2/13 vs Scranton