Junior Varsity Having a Major Season
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Stuyvesant’s basketball teams have exceeded expectations this season. The girls’ varsity team is 8-2, the boys’ varsity team is 5-4. Perhaps most impressively, the junior varsity team is enjoying a phenomenal start to the season, undefeated through two games.
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has led to a disparity in the number of games that the JV team has played. With the postponement of many matches, the Runnin’ Rebels have played just two PSAL games over the past month. Despite the scarcity in matches, the Rebels are playing extremely well, winning by an average of a remarkable 45 points across their two games. It’s clear that their on-court success hasn’t been slowed by off-court setbacks.
The Rebels’ JV squad opened their season with an 82-33 win over School of the Future on December 15, 2021. Sophomore co-captains David Glick and Ichiro Goodrow were nothing short of spectacular in the season opener as they combined for 34 points. The pure talent of the players has been the one of the driving forces for these wins. “This group has the potential to be one of the best groups of guys Stuy has seen in a while,” head coach Howard Barbin said.
Goodrow believes the team’s chemistry and camaraderie are also integral to their success. “In games, I trust my teammates to know where to be,” he said.
According to Glick, the skill of the other JV teams they have faced so far simply doesn’t compare to their own. “We have a really strong team. With many strong players, practices can be really competitive, which pushes us to get better and prepares us. Sometimes, the bench that we play in practice will be stronger than the other team’s starters, so it’s almost like the games are practice,” he said.
The only hindrance to the Rebels’ season has been complications caused by the coronavirus. Three of the team’s games got postponed or canceled. “Some of the other schools don’t even have teams due to COVID, so that’s less teams we would be playing anyway,” Goodrow said. In some cases, schools opt to reschedule games because of virus outbreaks within the team or simply as a general precautionary measure. The Rebels are scheduled to have nine more games this season, but the status of these games remains uncertain.
Coming off their two blowouts, the Rebels can only hope that COVID-19 doesn’t get in the way of the playoffs. Still, the team manages to see the upside of the situation. “It’s frustrating more so [than challenging], but on the bright side, it brings everyone closer together, and we work harder in practices because we never know when our last one is,” sophomore Tyler Chan, who has missed several practices because of COVID-19, said.
During a season and year plagued by uncertainty and with a rigorous six-day practice week, the Rebels have been able to hold each other accountable, emerging as one of the premier teams in their division. “We’re gonna be number one. 14-0,” freshman Vitaly Pyagay said when asked about the future of the team.