Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on December 17, 2002.
Boys' season 'a work in progress'

MHS, UHS, Trinity, PHS play tonight

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post

Morgantown High's Seth Fogarty drives in for a shot during the 2002 season. Fogarty is the lone returning starter from a team that went 22-4 and advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament.


The Dominion Post

* Preston High will work through the season to gain experience and possibly a winning season.

* Trinity High is experienced and possesses height that could make them a tough team to beat.

* Morgantown returns one starter, but adds 6-foot-6 Kameron Law and other talent. If the Mohigans capitalize on their height and depth, they should be a solid team.

* University is making the transition to new coach Bruce Clinton. The Hawks lost no starters to graduation and a winning season looks hopeful.

* Clay-Battelle lost three starters and the majority of its height. The Cee-Bees should be on track to a winning season if they continue to learn and progress.

All in all, the 2002-03 boys' basketball season is a work in progress, with higher expectations hopefully set at the end of the season than what they are at the beginning.

Trinity High

After last season, Trinity High decided it didn't like its look.

A losing season, a young, learning team -- they were ready for a change.This year, the Warriors have given themselves a complete makeover.

With some new additions and losing nothing to graduation, Trinity has evolved into a highly competitive team.

"I want us to be a team that doesn't look anything like we did last year," coach Herman Pierson said. "Unlike last year, we should be competitive with everyone we play. I expected us to be much better this year and we are."

Trinity will look toward guards Bo Pierson and Jad Jabbour to make major contributions. Pierson was a leading scorer last year for the Knights while Jabbour keeps the team focused and running.

"Bo is very athletic and quick with excellent ball-handling skills," Pierson said. "His outside shooting, which is greatly improving, will give us an additional weapon this year. Jad can score, dish and steady the team. He senses what needs to be done and directs his team to do it."

Also returning to Trinity's line-up will be center J.D. Alexander, guard Jacob Callen and forwards Andy Shultz and Brian Camp.

Adding into the mix of an experienced varsity, are four new faces in Brian O'Neil, Grant Neely, Justin Bolen, and Adam Allison.

O'Neil, a senior transfer, has talent to add at every position. Standing at 6-foot-3, Neely will start as Trinity's short forward because his consistent outside shooting.

"This is the most positive group that I have worked with in six years," Pierson said. "They believe they can do anything. Their goal is to have a winning season, win their section and than test their limits to see if they can go beyond that. Last year we were luck to win a game. It's night and day from then."

Preston High

With no starters returning, Bo Burnside and Grant Westbrook have become instant leaders.

Burnside and Westbrook, who are the only two seniors, know the Knights' system and are helping to coach the eight rising juniors.

Burnside will lead on the court as a point guard and Westbrook will play at center.

Besides the two seniors, Preston will rely on the rising talent of junior varsity players making the transition.

"We hope that we can gain enough experience to be competitive," Sanders said. "I think they work together and there is no selfishness. The juniors are real good athletes they just need some experience. Nerves may hurt at first, but they have been playing all summer. We will see how they react."

Gaining game experience, this season will be the key for the Knights. Preston's main goal is to improve it's game each week.

With Burnside and Westbrook leading the pack, Preston hopes the underclassmen familiarity with the game will eventually result in wins as the season progresses.

"They are hard working boys," Sanders said. "They have stuck together and I hope they get rewards for it. To have a winning record and win the section, that is everyone's goal. We just want to get better from week to week."


With the loss of three two-year starters, Clay-Battelle has some gaps to fill.

A variety of new faces along with the talent of Beau Wilson and Mike Simpson should help to even out the holes.

Without much height, the Cee-Bees will have to be fundamentally sound and execute consistently.

"There are some big shoes to fill," Skubis said. "With no one over 6-

foot-1 it changes what we will do as far as personnel is concerned. We will have to play very intelligently and know when to shoot and when not to. We are fairly optimistic that things will work out for us. We are expecting big things out of Beau and Mike."

New players have made the majority of practice centered on learning. Several freshman are showing promise to make significant varsity contributions.

The Cee-Bees, who decide their goals each year at a team meeting, plan to have a winning season and continue to grow.

Skubis wants Clay-Battelle to focus on strong defensive tactics and have a solid team by March.

"Having a wining season is realistic and we will be striving for it," he said. "Throughout the course of the year we want to learn and be clicking on all cylinders in March. We want to stop penetration and make sure we are jumping to the ball. We will defend every shot and make our opponents earn everything they get."

Morgantown High

For the first two weeks, Morgantown High will have to do some juggling.

With both its point guards injured, the Mohigans will not have its complete line-up at the onset of the season.

Starting point-guard Geremy Rodamer is suffering from elbow and shoulder injuries from football while back-up Daniel Dalton broke his kneecap in a car accident.

"Seth Fogarty and Chad Murray will probably share the position until we can get those two back," Yester said. "I am very concerned about this. The point guard position is the leader."

Narrowing out the injuries, 6-foot-6 freshmen Kameron Law will be a significant addition to the Mohigans. Matt Simpson, who stands at 6-foot-2, will add to Morgantown's height and aggressiveness.

Tyler Benson, Murray, and Law will be the primary shooting force for the Mohigans, who plan to run teams down physically.

"Those three guys have the best potential in terms of shooting ability," Yester said.

"They are all unproven at the varsity level and don't have much experience in varsity games. We will probably run and pressure the ball more than we did last year. We would like to run up and down the floor and see if we can't run teams down with that."

Morgantown's deep beech will prove to be an asset to both its adjustment period and in terms of rising talent.

It's biggest challenge, though, seems to be maintaining a solid grasp on the fundamentals.

"I hope we are not rebuilding much this year," Yester said. "In terms of true basketball skill, we have a long way to go."


University has lost virtually nothing and gained a whole lot.

Returning all of its starters, the Hawks have also have the addition of new head coach Bruce Clinton.

Clinton, who served as an assistant for eight years, is set on mastering fundamentals and consistent discipline.

He is adamant about the "team" concept, which leaves University's true talent almost unknown.

"I have had several kids step up," Clinton said. "I hate to get into individual names because it slights other players. I don't want one kid feeling superior to another and I don't want another feeling like they are less. That has always been me."

Clinton will say, however, that the Hawks quickness will be their strength. He is focusing tremendously on defense, which he hopes will be a solid element to University's success.

"We want to be good on the defensive end and hopefully our pressure will translate into fast breaks, easy baskets and turnovers," Clinton said.

"I am not looking for one or two players to carry us. There are six seniors and a few juniors who are looking good. The competition in practice will help make us better."

Clinton has spent a good amount of practice time getting back to the basics and believes his team has the talent to win. He said only minor adjustments from last season need to be made.

"They believe they can win," he said. "Even last year with the record they were in some games until the very end. Bad shot selections here, missed free-throws there ... it could have been a lot different."

Trinity High

Coach: Herman Pierson

Last Year: 7-14, Starters lost: none

Starters returning: Bo Pierson, Josh Keys, Jad Jabbor, J.D. Alexander, Andy Shultz.

Contributions from: Brian O'Neil, Grant Neely, Justin Bolen, Jacob Callen, Brian Camp

Preston High

Coach: Barry Sanders

Last Year: 8-15, lost 71-69 to University in sectional tournament.

Starters lost: Chris Hartley, Tom Hooton, Steve Adams, Harry Hayes, Tyler White.

Starters returning: none

Contributions from: Bo Burnside, Grant Westbrook


Coach: Frank Skubis

Last Year: 15-9, lost 75-69 to Wheeling Central in Class A Region I Championship.

Starters lost: Phillip Bane, Kenny Statler, Matt Eddy.

Starters returning: Beau Wilson, Mike Simpson, Justin Lucas.

Contributions from: Dade Chisler, J.J. Plaza, Shawn Spears, Dan Owens.

Morgantown High

Coach: Tom Yester

Last Year: 22-4, lost 52-51 to Cabell Midland in the Class AAA semifinals.

Starters lost: Bobby Prim, Ronnie Shaver, Justin Vidovich, Nick Hedges.

Starters returning: Seth Fogarty.

Contributions from: Geremy Rodamer, Daniel Dalton, Matt Simpson, Kameron Law, Chad Murray, Tyler Benson, Vito Minutelli, Tim Williams.

University High

Coach: Bruce Clinton

Last year, 5-19, lost 80-36 to Morgantown in sectional championship.

Starters lost: none

Starters returning: Casey Jackson, Robby Dinsmore, Bryan Phillips, David Casdorph, Jared Mayfield.

Contributions from: Cliff Luzier, Julian Spraggins, Matt Clawges, Charles Chyphert, Aaron Hoard..