|Written by Jeff Falk|
| What does a stage performance that hasn’t been rehearsed look like?
How about the ingredients of a gourmet meal that has yet to be prepared?
What they resemble is a basketball program that does not have a junior varsity team.
The Annville-Cleona girls’ baskeball team endured more than its share of on-court hardships during the 2009-10 regular campaign. And a majority of those difficulties were related to the fact that the Little Dutchmen did not field a JV squad.
On the floor, the young and inexperienced Little Dutchmen were often over-matched by more seasoned opponents. Annville-Cleona went 4-17 and were blown out on a number of ocassions.
“JV teams are very important,” said Karen Evans, Annville-Cleona’s new athletic director. “This year our young girls had to step up and compete at the varsity level. I see it (JV ball) as being a learning experience for the girls, so when they get to varsity, they can be more competitive. Sort of like, ‘You’re in it to win it’.”
Annville-Cleona head coach Fred Siebecker declined an interview request for this piece.
When programs don’t field JV teams, it taxes both the current and future successes of the ‘big club’. While ‘the school of hard knocks’ that the young Little Dutchmen experienced will eventually pay dividends, the lack of a JV squad assures A-C a new generation of inexperienced players.
“Right now, we have a very strong youth program,” reported Evans. “The junior high and elementary programs are both very strong. I think we’re going to rebound.”
At any given time this season, Annville-Cleona dressed between nine and 13 players for games.
“We had a low amount of girls who came out for the team,” said Evans. “We just didn’t have the numbers. We were about four girls short of having a JV team.
“It’s sort of a widespread problem with smaller schools,” Evans continued. “(Lancaster-Lebanon brethren) Columbia and Donegal don’t have JV teams either.”
Lebanon County’s smallest public school, Annville-Cleona experienced similar problems getting girls out for sports like track and field and soccer, in the not too distant past.
“We talked to some of the kids who had been out for basketball, girls who had been on the fence, and they decided not to come out,” said Evans. “Field hockey was their first sport, either that or soccer. They wanted to play indoor field hockey. It’s complicated. They were interested in other things, maybe that’s the best way to put it.”
In a December meeting between Siebecker and the administration it was decided that this season’s JV schedule should be done away with.
“At the beginning of December we realized it wasn’t going well,” said Evans. “They’re (the current players) very young, mostly freshmen. We made that call around then. But it’s just this year.”