Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Junior Varsity’s Hot Start

Junior varsity basketball is undefeated throughout these first few weeks of the season. Here’s how they’ve done it.
Photo by Cayden Harman
Coach Jayme Donnelly and his junior varsity players discuss game strategy during a timeout, which has been a big contributor to their success.

   When you think of high school basketball, your mind immediately goes to varsity. However, you should recognize the talents and hard work of the junior varsity basketball squad. This season, they aim to surpass all expectations.

   Junior varsity has won all their games entering the 2023-2024 season. This includes an important victory against Nixa, which won them the JV Cub Martin Tournament. No game during the tournament fell within 15 points, with 34 as the most dominant margin of victory.

   Head coach Jayme Donnelly has a lot of confidence in this team. His belief has contributed to their hot start.  

   “We have a very well-rounded junior varsity team this year. We have a good blend of guys I have coached previously, good team chemistry, and a group that is unselfish with winning being the most important thing. When you have that mix, the sky is the limit of how good we can be as we continue to grow together,” Donnelly said.

   Team chemistry is an important characteristic to possess. For Ajani McDowell, a transfer student, building a bond with his teammates has been very successful.

   “We often go out and find a court. Do a little three on three, or just hang out. Getting closer with them, hooping with them outside of school just helps us get better,” McDowell said.

   Any successful basketball team will find unselfish play at the core of their system. Despite that, star players will still find a way to shine through. Donnelly’s definition of a star provides a great example.

   “We have been very fortunate to have a lot of ‘star players’ over the eight years of being here at Kickapoo. What truly makes a star player is someone who is willing to do the work when no one else is watching, putting in the extra time outside of practice, having a plan to get better, and being an everyday guy,” Donnelly said.

   Eventually, some of these players’ talents will surpass the JV level and earn them varsity minutes. According to Donnelly, this requires some preparation.

   “The biggest thing I try to prepare junior varsity players to make the jump to varsity is understanding the importance of playing hard, competing, and playing together. The jump is usually much faster and more physical than the junior varsity level of play. Being able to play hard is no doubt a skill and needed to be successful at the class six level,” Donnelly said.

   The JV basketball team has come out blazing this year and is destined to make a statement. Until then, here is a message from McDowell.

   “Don’t underestimate us. We are greater than what we seem to be. To our opponent, treat us like we are going to be your biggest threat all season,” McDowell said.

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About the Contributor
Cayden Harman, Sports Editor