By Chris George
Head coach Dave Helmick enters his second year at the helm, as he looks to lead his boys of Tucker County back to Charleston and the Class “A” State Tournament. To do so, they will have to do it without Class “A” First Team All-State performer, Seth Evans. So what is life like now without Evans? Coach Helmick says expect a different style of basketball. “Without Seth, we will be a much different style of basketball team.” “We not only will replace Seth up front by committee but the team overall will play more of a full court up tempo style and will press both full court and half court to try and steal some possessions and all in all it will look like Tucker County Basketball, from the 1990’s”.
Senior forwards, Josh Kincaid and Jacob Cousin will be asked to help share the load in replacing not only Evans but 6-7 graduate, Skyler Humphrey. Helmick also alluded to the fact that this year’s team may have a different leading scorer each night. “Not only will we be more balanced but I also could possibly see us with a different leading scorer each night.” This year’s Mountain Lions basketball team also should have more depth. 10 players will suit up to start the season and all 10 could see minutes. The leading returning scorer from a year ago (14 ppg) is guard Ethan Crosten. “Ethan has gotten more aggressive and improved his outside shot.” “I expect big things from Ethan not only on offense but defense as well.” Coach Helmick also went onto praise his other two guards as well in Senior, Kordell Fulton and junior, Wes Snyder. “Kordell has gotten a lot stronger and has added up to 10-15 pounds of good muscle and is more confident this season.” He should also help us at the point guard spot as well.” I mentioned earlier about this team being deep, well off the bench may be one of the mist skilled basketball players of them all in (6-3 sophomore), Corrick Ambrose. Joining him will be forwards in junior, Jordan Moss and sophomore, Jeff Snyder. A pair of junior guards will provide play off the bench as well in Brandon Zirk and Luke Poling. Overall, 20 Mountain Lions came out for the team this year. Of which, four are seniors and juniors, seven sophomores and five freshman. Freddy Davis will take over as the coach for the junior varsity team. Davis is the former coach of the Harman Panthers two seasons ago.
Once again, Tucker County will face a strong conference schedule. Potomac Valley Conference foes remain on the slate both home and away. The non-conference part however has a different look to it. The Mountain Lions will head to Glenville State College to compete in the Holiday Tournament December 12th as they take on the host team, Gilmer County. The tournament continues on December 15th and 17th as well. Also a trip to Class “AA” Keyser (December 30) is on the slate this season. Home and away matchups with Class “A” Power, Notre Dame are back on the schedule as well. An old rivalry returns as the Mountain Lions will take on the Elkins Tigers both in Elkins (December 23) and at Tucker (January 13). Finally, the Trinity Warriors will head up the Mountain to take on our Mountain Lions on February 22.
Finally the Class “A” Region 2 sectional tournament will have a new alignment to it as well. “We are headed back east, to where we used to play the sectionals.” Coach Helmick is right, as Pendleton County, Moorefield, East Hardy, Union, Harman, Paw Paw and the West Virginia School for the Deaf will all join Tucker County for the post season that will begin on February 27th. Also you can catch several of these basketball games on 94.7 WELK and tuckercountysports.com. Should be yet another exciting fun year for Tucker County Basketball. I for one can’t wait to get it started once again, with Pocahontas County headed to the high school on December 6th. Junior Varsity action will start at 5:45 PM and varsity set for 7:30 PM. However before the games that count, the Mountain Lions will scrimmage Buckhannon-Upshur in Tennerton on Tuesday November 29th and then they will entertain Keyser Thursday December 1st at 6:00 PM as well. For more info go to TuckerCountySports.Com.