JV players are not always window dressing

Oxford’s boys’ basketball is one of the few teams I have seen in 15 years reporting high school basketball that bucked convention, and didn’t move players from its junior varsity player up to the varsity as a mere formality.

It’s a time-honored tradition for the best one or two junior varsity players to get a taste of the varsity team during the postseason. That taste is typically at the end of the bench as they watch the varsity perform in the most critical games of the season. These are the games where a loss ends the team’s season, and for seniors, their high school careers.

Earlier this month, Oxford, already a winning team, began the transition of working junior varsity players into the varsity lineup. Now, why would a team that was already clinching its fourth straight divisional championship proactively blend new players into the already-developed team chemistry?

Because Oxford coach Tim Davis believed his team could be better – much better – with the addition of several underclassmen.

The Blackhawks’ junior varsity won lopsided game after lopsided game this season posting a 16-0 record, and winning every league contest by well over 30 points. Its two closest games of the season came in the Norwich-hosted Tom Schwan Tournament – against larger schools – where it defeated Norwich by double digits and Oneida in the finals.

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