"Frosh, JV girls end campaigns"

"Photo: The 1999-2000 JV team (from left), Shannon Skouris, Julie Robinson, Karen Schwager, Erin Iddins, coach Nick Rizzo, Lauren Johnson, Kacie Kavanaugh and Kelsey Robinson.Cameron Ackley photosLack of recognition has hardly fazed the South Whidbey High School 1999-2000 ninth grade girls basketball team.The frosh lady Falcons finished alone in second place, with 12 North Cascades conference wins and only two losses, 17-3 overall.Yet, as is usually the case with both the freshman and JV teams, varsity squads grab all the headlines and underclass competitors seem to toil endlessly in dreary anonymity.While the Falcon varsity does boast a district tournament-bound girls' team, there is no corresponding end of the year party for either the ninth grade or the JV, regardless of how well they might perform. In a fairer world, first year freshman girls coach Greg Hein views his team's effort being rewarded with some type of post season frosting, to go on a successful regular season cake. I'd like to see it, Hein said. But because of time, cost and logistics, a freshman (or JV) tourney, he added realistically, is just not on the horizon.Losses at home to Lakewood and at league champion Lynden Christian were the only chinks in the ninth grade girls' conference armor, the team splitting the series with those schools. A thrilling, come-from-behind overtime win at Sultan Feb. 4, and a last-second victory at Meridian Feb. 9, contrast the usual lopsided Falcon scores, including a 69-6 demolition of Coupeville. Blessed with a balanced squad, I try to play everyone, coach Hein said. We've got a good rotation system; different players start almost every game for us.This group of freshman girls has been together for years and has experienced a high level of success, competing additionally in recent years on AAU basketball clubs. Some also played varsity soccer or volleyball in the fall and most will be on the softball diamond soon, as spring approaches.JV slowed by injuriesAfter a five-win, one-loss start to the season, injuries have taken their toll on second year coach Nick Rizzo's junior varsity girls basketball team. Rizzo stressed that, even with a near-500 league mark, his group has remained competitive, playing most opponents closely. It's been an up and down year, Rizzo offered. Hopefully, we'll finish on an up note.Rizzo has three freshmen, six sophomores -- three of whom occasionally float up to varsity action -- and one junior. The future looks good, he added. This program has lots of underclass talent coming up. The JV squad ended their season last night, Feb. 15, too close to deadline for a result."

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