JV Girls Earn STAC Championship

  Special thanks goes to Stephanie V. and the Varsity girls for their support. They were loud during the tiebreaker game against Horseheads, and made signs for the JV girls. 

Many of them attended the semifinal game in Norwich, and were out in full force against Sus Valley in the Championship game.

Their support meant a lot to the JV girls.
Ithaca High School’s Girls Junior Varsity Team played tough, physical games - they wanted to win, and they left it on the floor to get the job done. There were no 50/50 balls in their last few games. There were only Ithaca balls.
The team’s coach Jeff Gorsky shared insight into the season leading to the championship February 12.
“I have coached nine out of the 14 girls since 5th grade, so I had a pretty good feel for them and they knew what I expected. The 14 girls got on the same page pretty quickly,” said Gorsky about the first few practices. “As for season expectations, I just wanted the girls and the team to be playing better at the end of the season than they did at the beginning of the season, and have some fun while doing that. I had no expectations on winning a Championship.”
Defense and unselfish play were - and remain, strengths of the team.
“The biggest strengths were our defense and our unselfish play. At times, we played great defense and forced teams into mistakes. As for our unselfish play, we would routinely have assists on 75% of our made baskets during games, which means we are passing the ball to the open girl,” Gorsky said.
While shooting baskets was the biggest weakness, the team got better as the season continued. This included making big outside shots to win games at the end of the season. Their overall record this year was 18-2.
They earned this record, overcoming defeat at home and other challenges.
“Horseheads was the biggest challenge for us,” Gorsky said. “Mid-way through the season, we were undefeated at 9-0, but went there and lost by 17 points. In the second to last regular season game, they came to our gym. Based on records, we had to beat them to force a one-game tiebreaker. We beat them 56-53, breaking a tie at 53 with 20 seconds left in the game. It was one of the best girls basketball games I have been involved with, as both teams played well, there were not a lot of turnovers, and both teams made plays when it counted. We just made a few more. We then had to play them again six days later in a tiebreaker game, which we won 49-42 - in another well-played game. I felt the winner of that game would win the JV Championship.”
It was a feeling that influenced strategy.
“We played mostly a man-to-man, full-court defense,” Gorsky said. “The girls like to pressure the ball, and get up and down the court. As for offense, it is sharing the basketball, hitting the open girl, and moving without the basketball - we try to keep it pretty simple.”
Then, it was clear - they could take the championship.
“After we beat Horseheads for the first time, I knew we would have to play them again,” Gorsky said. “Coming into that game, I did not know if we could beat them. It was a tall task to beat them twice within six days. The girls stepped up, and wanted to win so badly.
“The biggest pressure for me was that second Horseheads game, where we had to win to force a tiebreaker. Again, I was not sure we could beat them, but after beating them once, I thought we could play with anyone. Playing the tiebreaker and then Norwich in the semis and Sus Valley in the finals felt like icing on the cake.”
The STAC Championship was well deserved.
“I felt so happy for the girls, because of how hard they worked to get there,” Gorsky said. “We had to play five games in 10 days at the end of the season - with four of those games coming right down to the end. In each of those four games, we were either down in the fourth quarter or just up by two points. The pressure that the girls faced in those games was a lot.
“They made plays to win the games. During those games, the girls did not think twice about diving on the floor for a loose ball. Many of them had black and blue marks on their knees and elsewhere from the previous games. They were tough, physical games - they wanted to win, and they left it on the floor to get the job done. There were no 50/50 balls those last few games, just Ithaca balls.”

This article was composed from insight and information provided by Jeff Gorsky, Coach of IHS’ Girls Junior Varsity Basketball Team.