WESTON, W.Va. (WV News) — A season after it finished 5-17 and didn’t graduate any seniors, the Lewis County boys basketball team will have higher aspirations this winter.
But before that, the Minutemen will focus on growth and improvement, beginning with various tournaments and practices this summer.
“We only have, if we have them coming back, two returning seniors,” Lewis County coach Charles Simms said. “Whenever you think about it, those two seniors will come back, and we’ll have all the juniors and sophomores and freshmen still coming, so it’s a good feeling.”
As of last Saturday, the Minutemen defeated Bridgeport and Braxton County and concluded the Lincoln Cougar Shootout with a 62-42 win over Pendleton County.
They lost to Winfield and University.
In addition to the Lincoln Cougar Shootout, they also have competed against local teams at Robert C. Byrd and at the Armory in Fairmont. Numerous practice sessions have been held as well.
Against Pendleton County, the Minutemen took an early 14-6 lead and led 32-21 lead at the half. Lewis County led by as much as 43-33 and 56-39 in the second half.
In that game, Brayden Lipps, a sophomore last season, scored at least 12 points.
“We went from an average height of 5-10 to now my average height is probably 6-3, 6-4,” Simms said. “That helps, but with getting 6-3, 6-4 (guys back), I’ve got less guards this year than what I’ve had in previous years. I wish I could get a good mix of both.”
Simms said that although Lipps was responsible for a lot of the scoring, everyone who played contributed to the victory.
“I think overall, the whole team pleased me,” Simms said. “We were hard pressed last year because we didn’t have any seniors, we had all underclassmen; we were very young. This year, we’re starting to mature, and you can see that in our overall play. That’s what you want to see as a coach, you want to see growth, and if I see growth, then I’m happy.”
The Minutemen had three juniors on their roster last season: Luke Davisson, Owen Hunt and Zachary James.
They also had nine sophomores: Lipps, Liam Jeffries, Isaac Smith, Joseph Aman, Bryant Zielinski, Grant Acord, Tanner Griffith, William Hairfield and Pason Kelley.
Last season’s roster also included freshmen Caden Kelley, Manny Robinson, Ben Putnam and Aidan Anderson.
Simms said the season may be several months away, but the time to evaluate where they are as a team starts now.
“The three-week period to me is where you evaluate your kids from freshmen all the way up, get an idea of what you have,” Simms said. “With the freshmen coming in, with the upper classmen you have coming back, if you have them all coming back, (that’s great). If you don’t, there are some kids that work all summer, which I understand that, and there’s some that have fall sports.
“In our school, we divide out the time to where they can get all the sports in. These athletes cant play one sport in a smaller school, they’ve got to play all of them.”