The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
I had a conversation the other day with South Harrison Head Boys Basketball Coach Tom Sears.
At the time of our discussion his basketball team had the best record in Harrison County. If you take a walk down memory lane, only a pair of seasons in school history rivals this year’s start. In 2003, South Harrison’s first year in Class A, they finished with a 16-4 record. The magic mark was set by the 1986 squad that landed an undefeated regular season.
I asked Coach Sears what was different about this year’s edition and he was happy to break down what has been going down in Lost Creek. “This is a group that is playing together and working hard. It is one of the more talented teams that we have had at South Harrison for a lot of years. At the same time we are relatively young and I think the future is even brighter. We are off to a great start this year but we have great things lying ahead as well,” explained Sears. This is not a one dimensional team. It’s more of a succeed by committee club and that keeps opponents from keying in on one or two players. The biggest luxury for Sears isn’t that this team possesses talent, its how much talent they actually possess. “It’s the most balanced team that we have ever had.”
The leading scorers and rebounders are Cam and Brenton Barnette. These brothers are big, strong, physical, and athletic, which makes them hard for opposing teams to even slow down. As a matter of fact, both Barnettes have won the Shinnston News and Harrison County Journal’s “Athlete of the Week Award” on separate occasions already this season. The lone senior in the starting lineup is Dakota Jarrett and he provides leadership for his younger teammates. Logan Peck is a sharpshooter from the perimeter. Rounding out the lineup is point guard Nick Fenstermacher. Fenstermacher is the floor general that makes this team go. His ability to drive and dish helps to keep everyone involved on the offensive end of the floor.
“We bring some talented guys off of the bench- Kenton Linger, Johnathan Whitehair, Thomas Sears, and Jeffrey Wright. We are 9 or 10 deep on the bench. We can trust them to go out there and not have a letdown in play.” These contributors also have a solid skill set that separates them from their competition. “We can shoot it deep or we can take it inside which makes it hard for defenses. I think we are a big matchup problem for most teams.”
I was on hand to see one of the biggest comebacks of this season. The Hawks were down by 18 points at the break to Valley just three days after Christmas and they stormed back to earn a five point victory. When asked about that particular effort Sears replied, “The message (at halftime) that we sent the kids and that has really been the story all year long, is that we are going to stay together, we are going to stay focused, and we are going to keep believing.”
They are starting to make believers out of not only teams in Harrison County but those around North Central West Virginia as well. The success has helped the confidence level of this program, but Sears is not about to let it go to his player’s heads. At the same time, he realized that there is still plenty of roundball to be played and he doesn’t want his players to become complacent.
“I think that is what is different about his year’s team in that they are not willing to settle for average. They want bigger and better things. We are going to stay focused and take it one game at a time.”
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!