MORGANTOWN – It’s not too uncommon for a group to give attention to a season-ending loss throughout an offseason.
The issue for the College Excessive Faculty boys’ basketball group is that one loss was actually ugly.
UHS dropped a 60-55 resolution to Buckhannon-Upshur within the first spherical of the Class AAAA sectional final yr and it’s a loss that has caught with coach Joe Schmidle and his group all offseason.
“A number of it was immaturity and lack of management,” Schmidle, in his 10th season with the Hawks, mentioned. “I wasn’t beginning any seniors final yr and we had a youthful lineup. We didn’t actually have any postseason expertise and I feel we didn’t present up able to play towards Buckhannon. There was no excuse for that.”
Contemplating that the Hawks opened final season with a 68-48 win over the Bucs, it’s straightforward to grasp how they may have regarded previous that sectional contest.
This yr, Schmidle and UHS look like targeted on the duty at hand which is bettering on a 13-10 document and getting as far within the match as doable.
“I actually like this group,” Schmidle mentioned. “I feel we now have some guys who’ve stepped up and turn into leaders. A number of these youngsters have labored their tails off and wish to be within the gymnasium.”
An amazing instance of that work ethic is 6-foot-1 junior Demarcus Bandy who Schmidle mentioned could be some of the improved gamers within the state.
“He’s going to be the man that individuals are going to be like ‘The place did this child come from,’” Schmidle mentioned. “He’s nonetheless a little bit uncooked and has to enhance, however he’s working actually onerous on his recreation. He relied on his athleticism final yr, this yr he has turn into a basketball participant.”
Bandy mentioned he performed journey basketball this previous offseason and actually labored on his mid-range bounce shot all whereas remembering that loss in sectional play.
“We keep in mind that loss,” Bandy mentioned. “All of us inform ourselves that may by no means occur once more.”
A part of the optimism that comes from each Schmidle and Bandy is the expertise of final yr and the returning gamers.
Bandy will possible be joined within the beginning lineup by seniors Luke Hudson and James Fortney-Garbart. The remainder of the beginning lineup might differ from recreation to recreation, however Schmidle mentioned he has a deeper group this yr than he has had in earlier seasons.
Hudson, who began video games final yr, has loads of recreation expertise on the soccer discipline in addition to the UHS quarterback. Nonetheless, the loss to B-U final yr nonetheless bothers him.
“That recreation final yr form of made us all understand that no person on our group has ever been to the state match,” Hudson mentioned. “All of us consider that we’re a great group and most significantly, all of us wish to win and going to the state match is all of the motivation we now have wanted as a gaggle to get to work.”
Senior John Coleman “hustles his however off,” Schmidle mentioned, and is in higher basketball form than a season in the past whereas fellow senior Carson Ford could be the most effective 3-point shooter on the UHS squad. Zach Demidovich, a 6-foot-6 junior, offers the one actual measurement for the Hawks whereas junior Ethan Jackson returns to this system after taking final yr off. Junior Noah Kleeh is predicted to be one of many higher shooters on the group whereas sophomore Jack Byrer and freshman KK Lewis can even see high quality minutes this season.
Schmidle mentioned he’ll carry 14 gamers on the group with many seeing motion on the junior varsity as nicely.
College opens play on Dec. 8 when it hosts Morgantown, Parkersburg, and Kentucky faculty Holy Household Catholic for the BFC Tip-Off Basic. The Hawks can even make a visit to Charleston, S.C. for the Carolina Invitational which options 54 groups later in December.
“I feel we’re going to be proper there within the sectional,” Schmidle mentioned of the end-of-the-season match. “I simply hate to say we’re the favourite, however we now have pretty much as good of an opportunity as anyone. Bridgeport is at all times first rate, B-U beat us final yr and has all people again. I simply suppose that we’re going to be a significantly better group this yr.”
By ERIC HERTER