Athletic success at Jamesville-DeWitt High School isn’t a result of just practicing in season. Teams like varsity boys basketball, varsity girls basketball, varsity boys lacrosse, and varsity girls lacrosse, who have all ended their most recent seasons with success, hold non-mandatory offseason practices, or play in offseason leagues and tournaments so that they can hit the ground running when the season arrives.
The J-DHS Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls Basketball teams held optional practices and summer league games throughout the summer to prepare for the season in the November. “I think it helps because we build our team chemistry early so at the beginning of the season we’re prepared,” says junior Cameron Daley. It seems to have paid off; this year the Varsity Boys Basketball team won the 2017 Section III Class A Champions and were runner up in the state championship. “During the off-season the team definitely built chemistry on both a personal level and in the game,” said junior Buddy Boeheim. Coach Ike said that the practices once a week and they do drill work along with 5v5 games in a summer league in August at the Boys and Girls Club and McChesney Park in Syracuse. “It was a harder league and put us in situations that challenged us and got us prepared for our tough season ahead,” said Coach Ike.
The Girls Varsity Basketball team is very committed and involved as a whole to keep up their reputation after winning both the 2016 and 2017 Class A State Champions. Head Coach Rob Siechen held practices for the girls team two days a week in July at Bishop Grimes High School. “It gets us more comfortable playing with each other and gives us more confidence,” says junior Meg Hair. For some who participate in the AAU club team, including Hair, making practices over the summer was difficult. However, they were necessary; with many freshmen new to the team this year, these practices really helped them “feel welcome to the team and get a feel of how practice was going to run during season,” said freshman Sydney Baker. Junior Kasey Vaughan agrees, adding “the open gyms helped us get a feel for each other, especially with all of the freshmen on our team.”
Both Varsity Girls and Varsity Boys Lacrosse practiced weekly from November until March at the Sports Center 481. The Varsity Boys team’s success clearly showed when they won the Class B State Championship last season. Junior Griffin Cook said this success is due to their hard off-season work. “The intense off-season practices definitely showed throughout the season last year, so hopefully we can do the same this year,” he said. Assistant Coach Jeff Ike said that in off season practices they do a lot of team work and one-on-one defense drills.
The Varsity Girls Lacrosse team were runner-up in the 2016 Section III Class B championship. Senior Emily Pomeroy thinks the practices have been helpful for the team. “I think it has really helped us prepare for the season,” says Pomeroy. Although many girls did participate in the pre-season practices, some, including senior Elena Haarer, found themselves too busy for the “tiresome practice” which took place weekly, on Sunday mornings. “I had a lot of homework so I was always busy,” said Haarer. With her absence from these practices, Haarer did feel a little behind going into the season. Senior Alyson Shapiro also thinks extra practice is beneficial for the team, adding, “We’ve been together for a really long time and I think that helps with chemistry in the long run,” says Shapiro.
The off season practices paid off for the basketball teams. In a Section III title for the boys team and state championship for the girls. Only time will tell if the off season work will pay off for the lacrosse teams.