WOODSFIELD - A new era in basketball begins this season in Woodsfield.
The Monroe Central Seminoles will take to the court in their own gymnasium for the first time, having finally moved into their new school facility complete with a new gymnasium. No more home away from home for these Seminoles.
The home opener against Pioneer Valley Conference rival Caldwell also marks the begininng of the ''Scooter'' era in Woodsfield.
Longtime Beallsville luminary Lou ''Scooter'' Tolzda accepted the head coaching position last offseason vacated by Greg Taylor and is bringing his brand of basketball to the county seat.
Tolzda's teams have always played at a fast pace on both ends of the court. While it's been an adjustment, the coach beleives it's one his players have taken a liking to and have been working feverishly to transition into.
''We are changing things a bit. We want to change the way the game's been played, but pressure on the ball and get out and run with it," Tolzda said. "We're still learning how to do that at both ends but we have some good athletes.''
Unfortunately, much like his football counterpart Jay Circosta, Tolza will be pushing forward without the services of one of his more experienced and skilled players.
Curtis Nixon, who suffered an ACL injury during the football preseason is still recovering and doesn't appear he'll be back for his junior basketball campaign.
''Curtis, that's a bullet in the side from the beginning,'' Tolzda said. ''I watched him in the summer and you could tell he was going to have a good season.
''I feel bad for him because he put his heart into it.''
While Nixon's athleticism will be missed, he's not the only weapon Tolzda was depending on in his arsenal.
Leading the way is a solid group of five seniors with a talented sophomore class chomping at the bit to make a major varsity contribution after finishing 17-1 a season ago on the freshmen circuit.
Two expected to pick up the scoring slack are 5-foot-9 guard Cameron Jorris and 5-10 guard Korey Lafferre. Jorris has displayed a quick release and range from the perimeter during the preaseason while Lafferre, the football team's athletic quarterback, has a penchant for driving the paint and making good things happen.
"Korey has played for two years. He's kind of deceptive ... not real big, but has great jumping ability and we believe Cameron will be a serious 3-point threat," Tolzda said.
Seniors Kordell Antill (6-0), Camden Hill (5-10) and Josh Guiler (6-2) will provide Tolza some size and muscle in the paint.
The lone underclassmen on the starting roster is a major addition to the lineup in point guard Levi Brown, all 5-4 of him.
Juniors Bryan Duffy (5-11), Jake Schuerman (6-0), Aaron Yontz (6-3) and Chandler Kuhn (6-2) will all battle for quality varsity minutes.
Sophomore Zach Jorris (5-9) is also being looked at to contribute.
Tolzda will be assisted by Scott Jorris and John Perkins.