With Varsity on COVID Pause, HS Sends JV into Tourney

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With its reigning state champion girls' varsity basketball team on a 10-day COVID pause, Williamsville South High School in New York was bracing for an unceremonious end to the title defense.

According to The Buffalo News, that all changed when varsity coach Kristin Dolan found a creative way to keep the season alive by sending its junior varsity team into Tuesday's Section VI Class A-2 quarterfinals. Dolan, who can't have any contact with either team, said the Billies will use the JV players and their coaching staff against visiting West Seneca East. Should the JV team defeat West Seneca East's varsity team, the South varsity would be past its 10-day pause and available for Thursday’s semifinal round game.

“It’s going to be a mountain to climb, but our JV girls will give it their best,” said Dolan, whose varsity girls had won seven straight games. “I can’t be in the gym coaching them these next few days, but I’m already breaking down game film and seeing what we can do to help put these girls in the best possible position.”

Section VI girls' basketball chairman Chris Durr told The News on Saturday morning that the section did not remove the Billies from the tournament until hearing from South athletic director Adam Erickson on Friday morning that they wouldn’t be able to play the first round due to the pause. Later that evening, Durr said the section received word from Erickson that South would be able to host on Tuesday.

Section VI executive director Mark DiFilippo said as long as the players on the team represented their school in at least six regular-season contests at the high school level (junior varsity and varsity), there is no rule preventing them from being moved up to varsity.

“It’s the best scenario,” Dolan said. “The more I thought about it, we’re not going down without a fight. The JV girls were honored to be asked and they’re excited to represent Williamsville South Tuesday night. They’ll do all they can for us.”

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