In boys High School hoops there are several teams that are off to impressive starts. Bridgeport is unbeaten, Notre Dame is nearly unblemished, and Robert C. Byrd and Lincoln are rounding into form. All of these squads have shown signs of brilliance and they have all recovered nicely after their layoffs due to the winter weather. This past week I had the opportunity to call the Lincoln at Robert C. Byrd lock up on the radio. Both teams had just over a week off and they were searching for their respective grooves.
The Flying Eagles took the win but both teams played well and were glad to be back on the hardwood. I had the opportunity to have a lengthy talk with Cougar coaches as I wanted to find out why this team has been so successful. Cougar Head Coach Jordan Toth helped shed some light on the solid play in Shinnston.
There is strength in numbers and Toth has several players that can score the ball. “It’s been a nice balanced attack. We have four players averaging double figures right now,” explained Toth. There are also a couple more players that score near double digits.
Lincoln has also been able to slow their opposition down and that defensive effort has also drawn praise from Toth, “Defensively we have been getting better every game – kind of climbing the ladder a little bit.”
Every good team has to have leadership and typically it comes from players that have been there before. “We are a veteran ballclub. They know what I want without me telling them.” Another big asset is this group’s depth. “Our bench is strength. If we get someone in foul trouble or if someone isn’t playing well, we can put a guy in there and we don’t lose anything.”
Now that the Cougars have found the basketball court they want to stay on it. “We are hoping for no more interruptions. We have ten regular season games left. It’s good to start playing a lot of games down the stretch. We want to get into a rhythm and hopefully we will play our best basketball come March.”
West Virginia played with heavy hearts this past Saturday. It was their first game without suspended star Jonathan Holton and the results weren’t pretty. According to Mountaineer Head Coach Bob Huggins, Holton will serve a suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Before Huggins could formulate a plan of action, his team found themselves in a hostile environment. The swamp isn’t a fun place to play in general, and not without the most important part of your pressure. Holton’s on the ball pressure in the full court set helps to generate several turnovers per game. Many times those turnovers would lead to easy buckets. Holton also has been an emotional leader bringing enthusiasm along with nearly a double-double average. Without Holton the Mounties suffered their worst loss of the season to Florida and now the questions start rolling in. First, how long will the senior be out of uniform? Second, who will step up in Holton’s absence? This forces a distraction that comes at the worst time possible. WVU needs some answers and they need them in a hurry.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!