By Dave Helmick
HAMBLETON – The TCHS Boys’ Basketball team will get their 2023-2024 season underway at home tonight December 6th against Pendleton County for a JV / Varsity contest starting at 5:45pm.
The Tucker County Boys’ Basketball Head Coach Daniel Helmick returns for his 5th season with the Mt. Lions. Last season the Mt. Lions finished the season in the State Championship game. In the game they lost to James Monroe, but Tucker County brought home a State Runner-Up Trophy. This accomplishment has not been equaled since Tucker County was State Runner-Up in 2004. This year’s team returns a great deal of experience from that big tournament run as they have 4 of 5 starters back and 8 of their 12 players overall back for this season.
Leading the way this season will be a big front court with seniors Ashton Lycliter and Owen Knotts. They will be joined with some good experience in the backcourt as junior Trevan Bonner and senior Maddox Anderson return. Senior Ethan Rosenau and junior Garrett Wilfong will also lead the charge with a great deal of varsity experience to complement this team. Senior Justin Robeson will see action off the bench and Coach Daniel Helmick is excited about his younger players as well. Some of those younger players that will contribute will be junior Cole Carr, sophomores Xander Lambert and Carson Dearborn. Other players that are fighting to get varsity time will be sophomores Reid Kisamore, Keelyn Eichelberger, Mickey Mitchell and senior Kobe Bever to name a few. Helmick had this to say about this roster, “We have a lot of upperclassmen that have played in a lot of big moments in basketball and other sports.”
The great State Tournament run from a season ago has this team motivated to return to the State Tournament and make noise again. The Mt. Lions fell in the Championship game last season by the score of 66-35 to James Monroe. Tucker County got wins against East Hardy and Tug Valley in the first two rounds to make it to the final game of the season last year. That success has motivated this group of young men Coach Helmick says, “They are ready, the team has been talking about finishing the season differently this season, they are ready.”
This year’s team will be made up of 22 players overall JV and Varsity. Coach Helmick says the preseason practice has been great so far saying, “I am super pleased so far, we are excited for the season and the kids are excited.”
When ask about the strength of the team this season Helmick said, “Defense is definitely our strength, with our length and athleticism our defense will be our strength for sure.” This Tucker County team will be focused and the Mt. Lions are also doing some extra work to get better. Coach Helmick said this about this team’s keys to success this season, “We have to take care of the ball, we can’t waste possessions and we have to do the right thing and not waste a rep.”
The road to Charleston will be the same for this team as their Sectional opponents will be East Hardy, Union and Paw Paw. The other side of the Region will again feature Pendleton County, Pocahontas County, Harman and Tygarts Valley. Each Sectional Champion will again host the losing team from the other Sectional Final for the Regional Championship and those Regional Champions will advance to the State Tournament.
Tucker County’s schedule this season will be tough once again as the Mt. Lions have just 8 home games and they have added some games that will challenge this team. The Mt. Lions will play home and away contest with their traditional rivals East Hardy, Moorefield, Tygarts Valley, Pendleton County and Southern Garrett, MD. Tucker County will also add Gilmer County for home and away games. The Mt. Lions will play single games against Elkins, Grafton, Mountain Ridge,MD, Trinity, Tug Valley, Hampshire and Webster County. Tucker County will travel to play in a mixer at Tyler Consolidated. This event will have the Mt. Lions playing a State Tournament team in Cameron on the first day and then they will play host Tyler Consolidated on day two. This schedule will be tough, but it will prepare this Tucker County team for another post season run. Helmick had this to say about his schedule, “We have a lot of away games, and it will be a challenge, were going to see most of the state tournament field on our schedule this season.”
The boys’ season will get underway tonight December 6th at home against Pendleton County. The Mt. Lions will then travel to Grafton on Friday December 8th for a JV / Varsity matchup. If you cannot make it out to the games this season all home basketball games will be broadcast live on YouTube. For more info and a link to the YouTube channel go to TuckerCountySports.Com.