JV boys having excellent season at Elizabethton

By Ivan Sanders


   To have a successful varsity program, the feeder programs below that level have got to be as good if not better than the varsity units because they are the ones that often provide the practice squad and must be at their best to push their counterparts.
   This is definitely the case at Elizabethton High School, where the junior varsity team coached by Richard VanHuss has established itself as a team to contend with not only this season but the seasons to come after the present varsity team graduates a bevy of seniors this season.
   "I think the success of our varsity team is directly impacted by the junior varsity and in turn the success has been mutual," said VanHuss. "These guys are very competitive in practice with the varsity, and going against Vince, Walter, Lester, B.J. and Jordan has made these guys work hard to make sure they help the varsity get ready and in turn they have improved as well."
   Sporting a 14-3 slate, the junior varsity has made a statement to the rest of the league that after the big dogs from this season are gone, there is going to be another team lurking in the background to step up and continue the success that this group has established.
   "This is an unique bunch of guys we have this season on the JV squad because they don't show no big egos," quipped VanHuss. "They don't care who scores and it is just unbelievable how much these guys have improved over the span of one year."
   Indeed it has been a team effort in every phase of the game and that is because they are constantly being schooled in the importance of playing tough defense and to always think about what they are going to do in particular situations and to be smart in all their decisions.
   The Cyclones have listened to their coaches and responded greatly as evidenced by a game this season in which they held their opponent to a game-low seven points.
   Said VanHuss: "The coaches and myself talk to them all the time about playing solid defense and making good choices. We also emphasize taking care of the basketball and rebounding strong. When these guys communicate and do what they are supposed to do, they are totally awesome."
   According to VanHuss these guys are the type of team any coach desires to have because the foundation of their success stems from the fact these young men have parents who have taught them valuable lessons on the home front. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of respect that has been instilled into the team at home that carries onto the court and makes coaching such a team that much easier.
   VanHuss is also blessed to be surrounded by a group of coaches that have provided valuable information and support while supplying a personal friendship that makes his job that much easier.
   "Coach (Harry) McKesson works a full time job at Eastman Chemical and uses vacation days just to be here and helps to make sure the substitutions are made when needed," stated VanHuss. "The kids really respect him and we are also fortunate to have Wes Wright, who works with the freshman team, helping us by allowing some of his players to fill in for us when we need them."
   All the present kids have dreams of stepping up next season as varsity players and often times think that they may not be getting noticed by their varsity coach, Tony Hardin. That is not the case, though, because according to VanHuss, Coach Hardin is constantly checking in and watching as much of their games as possible.
   "Coach Hardin always ask how the guys are doing, if any of them are playing exceptionally well and is constantly giving them encouragement," said VanHuss. "He is very interested in their progress and looks forward to having them at the varsity level in years to come."
   So, even though many Cyclone fans think this might be the last year of a successful run by the EHS varsity program, take heart. There is a group of young men waiting to make their mark on EHS basketball after this talented group of seniors move on and for the fans who don't believe that, maybe they need to come a little early and watch the future of the program as the junior varsity squad continues to win and establish themselves as a proud bunch of Cyclones.