New x Two: Jeff High Basketball Rebounds With New Boys and Girls Basketball Coaches

Coach Melissa Voyles – Girls Basketball

Coach Melissa (Missy) Voyles took the head coaching job at Jeff High because it presented a great opportunity and a great challenge. Prior to coaching at Jeff, Voyles had coached at North Harrison. However, she wanted the chance to coach at a division 4A (the high school sports division for the largest schools) school like Jeff. She also saw the girls basketball team as a program with potential. “It’s always a program that could really be dominant,” she says.

Despite her optimism, there was a clear challenge for the Red Devils this year: injuries. Voyles said this season they had five ACL tears, one broken wrist, and two concussions. “I have never seen this many injuries,” she says. Despite these challenges she has been pleased with the level of dedication her players have shown, saying, “They play hard every day. I can’t fault them for that.” With this dedication has come improvement, according to Voyles.


Going into the season in a tough conference, and after losing a lot of senior talent last year, Voyles says, “I knew it would be a big struggle win-or-loss wise.” However, she credits her team’s leadership and hard work with their success this year, specifically, she credited Neveah Bates (junior), Baily Gibson (senior), Ajia Estes (senior), Tatum McFarland (sophomore), and Sofia Reese (sophomore) with creating a contagious positive atmosphere on the team.


For the postseason, the goal was simple for Voyles. “I want to compete with Bedford.” On Feb. 5, 2021, Jeffersonville fell to Bedford North Lawrence 62-36 in the Sectional Semi-final. Despite their season coming to an end, the Devils were able to keep the game within 10 points with the fourth-ranked Stars, until the fourth quarter.

Coach Andrew Grantz – Boys Basketball

Coach Andrew Grantz says he took the boys basketball job at Jeff High for many reasons, including “the history, the tradition, and the fan support here at Jeff.” Grantz also wanted to return to coaching in Indiana, and with the talent at Jeff High, he was excited at the opportunity to build the program.


For Grantz, the biggest difference between this job and his past coaching gigs is the community. “You know, Providence was a great place to be,” he says, “but you know with a private school, you’re pulling from all different directions.” He feels that the closeness in the Jeff High community really sets the program apart, and unlike Fort Myers, Florida (where he was for a past coaching job), basketball is a bigger deal here in Indiana.


For Grantz, his pride in his team was on display after the first semester when he learned the team had a GPA of 3.4 (highest in program history according to Grantz). For him this accomplishment was important as a coach because “they’re setting themselves up for life after basketball,” he says.


Leading up to the season, with all the confusion about COVID-19, he says the goal was simple: “Let’s just play games.” He also felt that despite the loss of a talented senior class last year, the team would be strong.


Despite his optimism, he does feel one of the major challenges was Jeff’s lack of a consistent feeder program. “Whenever I was younger there was the JYBL (Jeff Youth Basketball League), and if you look at the run Jeff had in the ’90s, that happened right after JYBL started,” Grantz says. He hopes to be able to tackle this problem, which he believes will really help the program as it has before.

Looking toward the end of the season, his goal for his team is simple: “We want to reach our full potential… if we do that or come close to that we have a chance to make a run in the postseason.” Over the season, he says the team has “had flashes of it.” But to reach his goal it’s about “putting it all together at once.”

By Max Fisher

Wrestlers Balance the Risks and Rewards of Competing during COVID

With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the way we live our lives in many ways, one major thing it has affected is athletes and their sports. Some sports are not as affected as others such as cross country, where they can still run the same trails while being socially distant.

Other sports that are close contact such as wrestling have had to change their routines significantly to keep at their success. Junior Wrestler Dillon Mouser says their entire practice schedule has been altered compared to last year. “Last year, we used to be able to just switch partners. Now we have pods of 4 people , and we can’t drill, lift, or practice with anyone outside of our pods. Typically we practice with only one person in our pod until it’s time to wrestle each other for a live match.”


Mouser says they also had to split up into separate rooms. “Stations 1 and 2 are mat 1 , and 2 are in the same room but divided by a curtain. Station 3 is the weight room. Station 4 is mat 3 , which we moved upstairs. Sixteen people on one mat, and obviously we wear our masks everywhere except for when we are on the mat, and every time we switch stations we sanitize.”

Wrestling team members gather around a teammate to offer support before at match at the December 5 meet. Photo by Paige Moore

Practice routines aren’t just the only thing COVID-19 has affected. Varsity wrestler Evan Clayton decided to switch to online school to lessen his risk of exposure during wrestling season. “Online school makes it harder to get work done because you aren’t in the classroom learning first hand and you lack the motivation you would normally have in class,” Clayton says. “But it wasn’t a hard decision knowing I can maintain my grades and not risk missing out on a big part of the season,” he adds.


Over Christmas break, Clayton got quarantined, and not getting quarantined leading into sectionals was a big part of his decision. “I live fairly far from most of my family, but when I got quarantined over Christmas I was upset because I couldn’t go see my grandma, and that was pretty hard for me.” Clayton intends to stay in online school until he can finish up his season and the school quarter to learn the material easier and prepare for his AP tests.


The decision to participate in a team sport has affected some wrestlers at home also. Some athletes’ relatives have health problems that would put them at risk if they contracted COVID-19.


Even before COVID-19, being an athlete required making tough trade-offs. For athletes this year, the stakes seem more significant and the choices more complicated — but the drive to compete has not gone away

By Cameron Allen

Matt Barker’s goal: a “great experience” for athletes, fans and visitors

Athletics are a big part of student life at Jeff High, which means there has to be an athletics director to keep sports running smoothly. Recently someone new has come to the position, Matt Barker. Having prior experience in the GCCS corporation and plenty of familiarity in the athletic department, Barker is ready for any challenge that comes his way. “I’m enjoying it, it’s a lot of work,” he says, “I’m really just trying to do the right thing.”

Athletics Director Matt Barker
Hyphen Staff Photo

Barker has had a passion for coaching for most of his life, starting with his first coaching gig for a girls powder puff team as a junior in high school. He ended up coaching and teaching PE at Parkview Middle School, and after that Barker and his family moved to northern Indiana. He pursued his education and now has a bachelors from Valparaiso, a teaching license from Manchester, a masters in secondary education from IU Southeast and a masters in administration from Grand Canyon University. Having no plan to move, Barker was looking into an administrative position at a nearby elementary school when he got a call from an old friend from Parkview, Pam Hall (now Principal at Jeff High). Knowing the love he had
for coaching, she offered him a job as the Athletics Director. “I’ve always respected Pam. She was a really great leader. So I said let’s do an interview and I’ll let you know. I interviewed for it, I honestly, being a coach for 20 years, seeing the hours of work athletics directors put in, figured I didn’t want to do that. But I interviewed and everything was kind of what I wanted to hear, so I accepted the position.”

Jeff High can be a very intimidating place, but Barker feels right
at home. He explains that although things can be quite hectic, the people around him are truly helpful. “I’ve found in the couple months I’ve been in this job, the athletics director world is very open to helping people out.” When he first arrived during late October, Barker was informed that there was a little bit of financial strain in the athletics department. Naturally, he got right to work on this issue and a couple others, such as transportation. Barker makes sure to note that he puts emphasis on communication between coaches and student athletes. With the spring season quickly approaching, there is plenty more work to be done.

Working as an athletics director in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated at best. Barker expresses his dejection about the crack down on fans allowed at games. “It sounds weird, you only have 500 people, but it would have been much easier to let 4000 people in.” He elaborates on the importance of proper mask protocol and social distancing.


Current events aren’t all Barker is focusing on, though. He is also making plans for the future. He believes that an important part of bringing up a good athletics program is a comfortable atmosphere and well-kept equipment. “My goal is to make sure that when people come to Jeffersonville — whether you’re an official, an opposing player, opposing coach, a fan — that you come here and you have a great experience.” This summer he wants to clean up the basketball lobby before the next season starts, and in the more distant future he hopes there will be turf on all of Jeff High’s fields and a new weight room. Barker isn’t only concerned with
the aesthetics of our facilities; another concern of his is our hospitality. “When you get an email about how welcoming you were as a school, that’s a great feeling.”


Barker conveys that success isn’t all in the wins and losses. He values sportsmanship and the overall experience for student athletes. He feels the most important part of his new position is getting students ready
for the world outside high school. Looking to give athletes team working and communication skills for future opportunities, he hopes that sports can be a well-needed escape for high schoolers.

By Emily Proctor

COVID-19 Casts a Shadow Over Winter and Spring Sports Prep

Jeffersonville High School athletes are trying to keep in shape and healthy even as there are some concerns about how things will unfold this year with COVID-19.

Basketball, a winter sport, presents many challenges specific to the sport such as physical contact, touching the same ball, and being played inside. Sophomore boys basketball player Conner Lyons has some concerns but is ready to start the new season. He says his most pressing concern is “guarding people and close contact,” but Lyons’ concerns are overpowered by his drive to get back out on the court. “It’s always been my dream and that’s what I want to do when I get older,” he says. As of right now, the first game for Jeffersonville boys basketball is scheduled for December 5.

Members of the Jeff High baseball team, who have already lost their spring season this year, are trying to stay positive but realistic despite losing some senior talent. Baseball also has the benefit of being a more spaced out game that is played outdoors. Sophomore baseball player Sam Whallen isn’t getting his hopes up, saying, “we might not end up playing this season because of COVID.” The Jeff High baseball team’s first game is scheduled for April 2. 

Members of the Jeff High softball team are also trying to prepare for a spring season in 2021. Senior Danielle Monroe says the team is beginning winter workouts, which are different this year because of social distancing. Still, she feels like the effort will pay off in the spring. “I’m hopeful. I think we’ll have a season,” Monroe says. “I really hope so because it’s my senior year.”

The Indiana High School Athletics Association (IHSAA) has said the organization is committed to letting students play, saying they believe it is “essential to the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes to return to organized physical activity and build team relationships with their peers and coaches.”

Although every sport has its own precautions for the safety of players, coaches and fans, they have one thing in common: in the age of COVID, athletes are optimistic but unsure about the future.

Story by Caleb Vincent

Girls Basketball Team Wraps Up a Challenging Season With a Winning Record

The Jeffersonville girls basketball began this season with high expectations. They had all three seniors signed to play in college: Nan Garcia signing to Penn State, Kelsie James signing to IU Kokomo, and Kiersten Poor signing to Grace College. In the course of the season, both Garcia and James would fall victim to injury, taking them out for the season.

Despite this, the team was still able to come out with a 14-11 record, and they were able to reach the semifinals of the sectional tournament losing to Jennings County 52-45 on February 2. “It was a big loss losing both Nan [Garcia] and Kelsie [James] because they both had such an important role on the team,” says junior Laura Gillenwater. Despite this, she says she was “very impressed by our team though because everyone pulled it together and stepped it up.” Gillenwater chalks a lot of this success up to a strong performance by the freshmen this season. “They had to adjust quickly and learn how to play varsity basketball which they excelled at,” she says.

Sophomore Lily Haire also noted that the season was made harder by the loss of Garcia and James. She credits Senior Kiersten Poor for a lot of the success this year. “Kiersten had a major  role on our team. She was a very good leader and someone to look up to,” says Haire.

Despite their struggles this year, the girls’ basketball program has a lot of talent coming up. Jeffersonville has three of the top five girls in Clark/Floyd county in the class of 2023 according to News and Tribune in Tatum McFarland, Sophia Reese, and Cadence Singleton. These freshmen along with the returning varsity sophomores: Lily Haire, Nevaeh Bates and Olivia Clive and juniors: Alexis Gibson, Laura Gillenwater, Aija Estes and Bailey Gibson, will make a strong team looking forward to next year. 

Additional News in Sports

Following Sectionals Jeffersonville Girls Basketball Coach, Michael Warren, resigned as coach following the season’s conclusion. Warren ended with a record of 112-61
after 7 seasons as Girls Head Basketball Coach.

Boys Basketball Heads to Sectionals With High Hopes

As they move forward toward the end of the year and wrapping their regular season with three remaining games before sectionals, the Jeffersonville High School boys basketball team is currently standing at 15-5 overall and they are currently ranked 23rd in the state of Indiana.

Jeffersonville has done extremely well against conference opponents and they are sitting at second overall in the conference with a conference record of 5-1. With wins over New Albany, Seymour, Columbus East, and Floyd Central, a reason for Jeffersonville’s success is the way seniors Tre Coleman and Jacob Jones have been playing this season. Both seniors have led the Red Devils to a great season and have never lost a game by eight points or more.

This season Coleman has averaged 14 points, six rebounds, one steal and two blocks a game. Jones has averaged 12 points, five assists, and two steals a game. Jones just recently hit the game winning three-pointer against Floyd Central High School. “This season definitely has been really bumpy, but I feel confident going into sectionals,” Jones said. “We just have to get better and better every single day.”

The team has gone through some changes with the addition of head coach Chris Moore. Senior guard Caleb Mason talked about how he felt about the change in coaching style and how it affected their season. “I felt like our season definitely could have been better, but we just needed to adapt to the coach’s new style,” Mason said. “But he is great. Before games, to motivate us he would give us small challenges or goals for the game such as try and get a stop three times in a row and call it a strikeout.”

Even with the coaching change, Mason still remains optimistic. “Going into sectionals we are down a couple of players, but I still feel confident. Don’t overlook us,” Mason said. 

DSC_0215

Senior forward Tre Coleman looks down the court during the homecoming game against Bedford North Lawrence.
Photo by Carlos Webb 

Kobe Bryant : An icon and inspiration to all

Former NBA legend Kobe Bean Bryant has been an inspiration to his community and people around the world. On January 26, 2020, Bryant died in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 along with his daughter Gianna Bryant (13 years old) and 7 others.

Around the world, people were in shock when they heard the news. Bryant was everywhere in our lives, he didn’t just impact basketball, he impacted the world. Whether it was an advertisement with him, an action his charity took, or kids shouting “Kobe” before throwing a balled-up piece of paper in a trashcan, Bryant’s influence was all around us, and he was a part of almost every athlete’s life. Bryant was more than a player. He was an inspiration, an icon and a legend, on and off the court.

The Jeffersonville High School Student Section decided to honor Bryant at the Homecoming game on Friday, January 31. Student Section leader and Senior Adam Crawford said he came up with the idea to change the theme to purple and yellow (the colors of the Lakers’ jersey). Crawford said he was inspired to change the theme because Bryant “was someone who didn’t just inspire basketball players, but he inspired the whole world.”

Trae Young, a 2nd year player who just earned his first all-star game appearance, wore the number 8 during his game. At the start of the game the Hawks won the tipoff and Trae Young held the ball not passing half court to take an 8-second violation in honor of his mentor. Young continued to put on an explosive performance with 45 points and 14 assists in a 19-point win over the Washington Wizards. Young continued to post on Instagram later that night a picture of him taking the violation with Kobe’s number with a caption of, “That one was for you… Rest Easy Kobe.”

The New Orleans Pelicans players wore Kobe Bryant’s shoes during the National Anthem before switching into their own preferred shoes with the numbers 24 and 8 written on them for the game. Another team who paid homage to Bryant was the Detroit Pistons by wearing 8 and 24 jerseys with Bryant on the back during the national anthem.

Some NBA players wearing the number 8 or 24 such as Spencer Dinwiddie decided to change his number from 8 to 26 out of respect for Bryant. Since then many other players wearing numbers 8 or 24 have done the same. He was everywhere, from giving players advice, to coaches quoting him to inspire their players before a game, to teachers using a Kobe video to get their students motivated to commercials using Kobe to advertise their product.

Jeremy Shingleton is Dedicated On and Off the Field

Jeremy Shingleton is a senior at Jeffersonville High School and is a member of the football team. Shingleton, who has been a dedicated player for all four years of his football career, finally saw his hard work paying off when he scored his first touchdown for the football team in their game against Bedford North Lawrence.

The game held on October 18 was a dedicated night for seniors including Shingleton. He says it was his favorite part of being on the team. “It made me really happy when everyone was cheering for me,” he says. He also says it was exciting and although he was a little nervous, seeing all his teachers and teammates there to cheer him on made him
feel better. Shingleton says he loves being on the football team and it’s one of his favorite parts of Jeff High.

Shingleton enjoys many things outside of football, including his student job at Meijers where he is dedicated to helping customers.

“My favorite part is helping every customer that walks in,” he says. Shingleton also says That he hopes to get hired at Meijer so he can work there more and help even more people. (Currently he is participating in a work-study program.)

Shingleton says that although football is one of his favorite activities, his favorite thing to do is helping other people. “I want to help everyone,” Shingleton says. Shingleton also enjoys other sports like wrestling and when he’s not playing football, he’s watching it. He also enjoys school and especially his favorite subject, social studies. Shingleton works hard on the field and even harder at school and work, making him a very dedicated student athlete. “I try to do my best in everything no matter what,” he says.

jeremy-s-kyle-tincher

Isaac Findley is Guided by Faith

isaac-findley-by-paige-moore

On a Wednesday night at Spring Mill State Park, a young man emerged from his baptism in a creek. And he emerged as a new person. Issac Findley is a dedicated football player here at Jeffersonville High. He found his faith in middle school and felt he needed to “take responsibility” for himself, his life and his relationship with God.

Findley made the decision to be baptised in middle school, and describes his baptism as feeling unfearing and courageous, reanimated with a new passion for his life and those ]around him.“It was probably in middle school when I got baptized, because that’s when I really took on my faith as myself and not my parents.” He feels that baptism is when you really “put the holy spirit in your life and live as Jesus would have lived.”

When asked if he ever feels outcast because of his faith, he notes that after declining party invitations he has been mocked for being “too religious.” He says that some will ask him “why are you different?” and he’ll answer, “It’s because of my faith.” He doesn’t feel the need to shove his faith down others’ throats, nor to pass judgment on others; he simply wants to provide a listening ear and a prayer for those who ask for one.

Findley told the story of one such incident where he invited another football player to church. The other made excuses he couldn’t drive, he was busy, he was forced to church in his childhood. Finally, he went with Findley to church, and found his love for God and faith reanimated. Later, Findley asked him to a Bible camp. Eventually, Findley was present for his baptism.

“I don’t want to shove it down people’s throats. “You can come talk to me and I can pray for you,” he says. He thinks some people need to give religion a chance, that it could help them as it has helped others, and that it all affects us in different ways. He feels as though religion has made him more accepting to everyone, and that he wants to include everyone. Findley says that Jesus loves everyone, and asked us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Findley also says his faith has improved his relationship with his partner, Kiersten. That keeping God in the center and having an emotional and spiritual relationship has helped him and Kiersten be more understanding of each other and to have a better, long lasting relationship. He said it was because “we don’t stress about if we’re good enough.” They go to church every Sunday together, and keep their relationship centered on spirituality.

Findley plans to be an engineer after high school, and attends services Southeast Christian Church. His relationships and life have improved since his baptism, helping him be more open, inviting and long-lasting. He only asks that you give spirituality a chance.

Mark Reilly Looks Back on Nearly Four Decades at Jeff High

reilly-by-max-fisherWhen Mark Reilly applied to teach science at Jeffersonville High School in 1983, he was surprised to get the job because “teaching jobs were hard to come by.” Little did he know the impact and length of his stay at Jeff High. Reilly has been teaching science at Jeff High for 38 years. He says he had always had an interest in teaching and he noticed that he was often used to help others both in class and in sports when he was a kid. This discovered talent would become his passion through his teaching and coaching. Reilly is well known for his class and always optimistic personality. Around school, his classes are favorites among Jeff High Students. Whether it’s the baby chicks he gives his biology students or the field trips his environmental science classes take, Reilly is well known as a fun teacher who wants the best for his students.

Many others know Reilly as a coach. He first started coaching in 1984, when he was an assistant baseball coach for two years. After that, he began coaching tennis, a job that lasted him 30 years, and ended with him as one of the most successful coaches in Jeffersonville High School History, and put his tennis program in a position to compete for a state title.

Reilly started his first girls’ season with a team where half of the players couldn’t keep score. His final boys’ team pushed eventual state champions North Central in a close 2-3 loss in the state semi-final.

In his teaching and coaching, Reilly says the biggest difference between the two is in the connection. “With sports, there’s more of a connection, kids respect me on the tennis court because of my play and knowledge, and they want to get better at tennis,” he says. However, in the classroom, he says he “has to make connections because we don’t have something in common. They need to know you care.”

Looking back at his career, Reilly hopes his students and players remember that he cared and always wanted the best for them. He says he still sees people that remember what he did for them when he was coaching or teaching. One thing he has learned over his years is the amount of influence he can have on someone’s life. “The impact you have on individuals, daily, you won’t realize until possibly ten years later,” says Reilly, “So, treat every kid with the same enthusiasm.”

Disney Mullins Dabbles in Diving and Drama

disney-mullins-by-max-fisherOne week she’s auditioning for the school play, the next week she’s diving headfirst off the diving board. Sophomore Disney Mullins is a busy girl with many interests, which can sometimes be rough, especially on a high schooler. Even with the stress it may come with, she manages to make things work in her favor.

Mullins has been diving since the eighth grade and even though she is three years into the sport, she has managed to achieve a notably high score. In her first year of diving at Jeffersonville High School, she received an MVP award for scoring the most points out of all of her team’s divers.

“I think diving is unique… it’s different from all the other sports out there, and I think that’s what makes it cool and exciting,” she says. “Plus it’s fun to do flips and stuff.”

In addition, Mullins has been doing theater since the age of three. So far, she has
managed to land a total of five leads by age 14, including Oliver Twist from “Oliver! the musical”, Gertrude McFuzz from “Seussical Jr.”, and Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan Jr.” “I really liked Peter Pan,” she states. “It was fun throwing glitter into the audience and into people’s faces.”

One of the biggest issues she has faced is timing. Diving season starts in the fall and
concludes in late winter. Meanwhile, the plays are scattered throughout the year. With the two activities occurring at the same time, Mullins thought she would have to choose one or the other. To her surprise, the coach and theater director were very considerate and helped her figure out a way to do both.

For example, during last year’s diving season, the theater department was rehearsing for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. “I would go to the most important rehearsals and when there was a dive meet, I’d go to that,” Mullins comments.

Although diving and theater might seem very different, they have one thing in common: Mullins always has an audience. And as long as she has one, she will continue to thrive in what she enjoys.

Boys/Girls Swimming and Diving

BOYS

After an impressive runner-up finish at sectionals last year, the Jeffersonville High School Boys swim team lost 5 varsity seniors. This year the team is low on numbers, but head coach Michael Pepa says the team is doing “better than I thought.”

With the smaller team, they have had to make some changes, such as having divers swim some events. Something Junior diver, Max Cathey described as challenging, yet helpful to the team. While it can be frustrating for the divers, Head Diving Coach, Holden Henderson says it pays off, “The net benefit is worth it,” he says. While the small numbers cost the team at dual meets, their strong individual performances will should  pay off in the State tournament. The small numbers also have helped with team  comradery. Senior co-captain, Jonas Gillam says, “we’re a lot closer because of it.” With all the hard work this season, especially over Christmas break the team is ready for a strong postseason.

Looking forward, the team is primarily focused on getting as many people to state as possible. Freshman, Evan Dickson says if they “keep at it, and show up every day,” he believes they can achieve those goals.

GIRLS 

The Jeffersonville High School girls swimming and diving team is coming off an impressive second-place finish at Sectionals last year. And this year with strong senior leadership, they believe they have a shot to take back the sectional title. Their goal this year is simple, “Win sectionals,” says freshman Samantha Elsner.

Head coach Michael Pepa says they have been training really well as a group, and he noted the team’s cohesiveness and positive attitudes as reasons for success. Pepa credits the work ethic to the senior leadership, saying,“They’re setting expectations a little higher this year.” Looking towards the postseason, the team has ramped up training, especially over winter break. “We’ve been training really hard, and the work is paying off,” says Senior Bonnie Dixon.

The team is also counting on a strong performance from Sophomore diver, Disney Mullins. This year with two years of diving experience under her belt, Mullins believes she can provide crucial points for the team. “I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come from last year,” she says. With the work under their belt, to achieve their goals, Senior Captain Alyssa Miller says, “We just have to focus.”