By Bill Nestor
The Lincoln boys basketball team was just one win away from a trip to Charleston last season. Cougar head coach Jordan Toth had his team knocking on the door a year ago, and with four returning starters and several additional talented players poised to make an impact, this year’s group is ready to kick the door down.
The four returning starters are all upperclassmen and include three seniors and a junior that will also provide leadership to the talented newcomers. Senior Brayden Edgell is the point guard. Dell, last year’s team captain, will be the floor general in charge of getting Lincoln into its offensive sets. Senior guard David Burdette had an impressive 2022-23. Burdette really came on last year and he can shoot and drive the ball to the basket. The third returning senior starter is Noah Sears. Sears is flexible defensively, with the ability to guard point guards to big men. He runs the floor well and worked hard in the off season to improve his shot. Junior Aidan Rice is a low post presence. Rice started every game for the Cougars last season and is a great scorer underneath.
Currently there are three players in a battle for the final starting spot. Senior Nate Swiger is a great hustler with the ability to slash to the basket. Senior Riley Lanham came on late last year and can stretch the defense. Senior Maddox Perine is a strong player that made valuable contributions last year.
Juniors Wyatt Finch and Landon Swiger, along with sophomore A. J. Bart, round out a gifted rotation. Toth had high words of praise for all of the above mentioned players and is excited for the upcoming campaign.
The saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” comes to mind in Shinnston. Out of the 16 players Toth has, all but two of them played football. He knows that it will take some time for his players to transition to the hardwood. Toth talked about his players getting their basketball legs, getting reps, growing all year, and being ready for the postseason.
If his players follow his plan, look for this team to make its fair share of noise in March.