PADEN CITY - When you talk about experience in high school sports there are different levels and different things to take into consideration.
Case in point, Coach Fred King and his Paden City boys' basketball team.
The roster includes one senior, five sophomores and five freshmen.
However, the five sophomores all received significant playing time a season ago, with some even starting, and the last thing that King wants to talk about heading into this season is youth.
''We have five sophomores that all played enough last year to know what is going on and who all grew up real quick, King said. ''And I expect them play like juniors this year and be ready to go.''
Senior point guard Drew Bidwell (5-foot-9) is the lone upperclassman on the roster and returns to lead the Wildcats offense and will be joined in the starting lineup by three sophomores and a freshman. Two kids who will be counted on heavily are sophomore returning starters Kennedy Cain (6-5, forward) and Zach Heasley (6-3, center). Classmate Craig Allen (6-0, guard) and freshman Luke Cooper (6-2, center) round out the starting five.
''There will be other kids who crack the starting lineup from time to time, but this is our core group,'' King said. ''We have three kids who can shoot the lights out from the outside and three kids who can post-up inside, things we haven't had in the past.
''We have more latitude and kids know what to do now. Another key is that we are two-deep at every position but point guard and that is a huge thing for us. The biggest thing we have to change is that we have to get physical.
''There is no question that we weren't very tough on either end last year and we cannot be afraid to body people up. We need to do to teams what they have been doing to us. All I want the kids to do is go out and let them know that you came to play.
''I have some physical kids on the bench and I will not be afraid to bring them in. When they hit the floor the officials had better have the whistles ready.''
The big four coming off the bench include sophomores Brandon Cross (6-0, guard) and Kane Pyles (5-10, center) and freshmen Logan Carroll (6-1, forward) and Devin Price (5-8, guard). Also available are sophomore Levi Meadows (5-8, guard) and freshmen Kris Byers (5-5, guard) and Andrew Dennis (5-4, guard), all of who will see playing time.
"Our coaching staff has a chance to change the culture a little bit here and get back to winning this year,'' King said. ''I had never had three losing seasons in a row before and it has to stop. We have been very soft the last couple of years and we are doing a good job of instituting physicality on both offense and defense. We had more kids play as freshmen than any team in the state last year and that will pay off this year.
''There are, and will be, no excuse this year. These kids have had playing time now and they should be grown up enough and ready to turn this around and start winning basketball games.''