Basketball Preview 2017

Numbers an Issue for Irish

By SETH STASKEY BELLAIRE — Bubba Kapral has patrolled the sideline at St. John Central for the past 23 seasons. He’s won more than 300 games, a district title and eight Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships. As he prepares his 24th campaign at his alma mater, Kapral and ...

JM Looks to Get Over the Hump

By TRACY WATSON MOUNDSVILLE — In his first three season as the girls’ basketball coach at John Marshall, Brock Melko has taken his team to the brink of the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament, only to fall short in the regional finals. With four returning starters, including a ...

Thompson Leads Experienced John Marshall Squad

By TRACY WATSON MOUNDSVILLE — While John Marshall boys’ basketball coach Chad Clutter was still finalizing his roster because of the Monarchs’ recent football playoff success, one thing was for sure, Clutter didn’t lose a senior from last year’s squad and there is plenty of ...

Cupboard Not Bare at Big Red

By ED LOOMAN STEUBENVILLE — There will be plenty of new faces on the floor when Steubenville’s boys’ basketball team opens its season on Dec. 12 at home against Boardman. Seven regulars are gone from the 2016-2017 Steubenville squad which went 19-6, played for the OVAC Class 4A title ...

Lombardo Excited About Team

By ED LOOMAN STEUBENVILLE — Jeff Lombardo admits to being excited as he prepares the Steubenville girls’ team for its season. “I really am excited to coach this season’s team,” Lombardo, who is entering his third campaign leading Big Red, said. “We have a great group of girls ...

Valley Boys Are Seasoned

By BUBBA KAPRAL PINE GROVE — John Kocher and Valley basketball are synonymous. Kocher is embarking on his 22nd season as coach of the Lumberjacks with a squad well-stocked in numbers (17 players) and a nice blend of experience and youth. The Lumberjacks boast a roster featuring five ...

Palmer, Lumberjills Look To Get Back to Title Game

By BUBBA KAPRAL PINE GROVE — These are good times for the Valley Lumberjills. Coach Jeff Derby’s charges are coming off a banner season. And with one of the OVAC’s premier players back in the fold, more success is likely on tap for this winter. Valley posted a sparkling 15-8 record ...

Hundred Girls Have No Seniors

By BUBBA KAPRAL HUNDRED — No seniors, no problem. Hundred girls’ basketball coach Steve Dakan is optimistic about his team’s chances this season despite its extremely youthful look. The 2017-18 Hornets roster is comprised of five juniors, one sophomore and five promising freshmen. ...

Youth Will Be Served at Hundred

By BUBBA KAPRAL HUNDRED — Youth is being served at Hundred this winter. The Hornets feature just one underclassmen on their 14-player roster. Travis McCoy is a talented 6-5 junior letterman. He must provide the leadership this season as the balance of the squad is composed of freshmen and ...

Boggs, TC Hope Success Rubs Off

By TRACY WATSON KIDWELL — As usual, Coach Richard Summers’ Tyler Consolidated volleyball team has cut into practice for the girls’ basketball team with another run to the state tournament. And, as usual, fourth-year coach Cathy Boggs and assistant Ben Thomas couldn’t be happier ...

Familiar Face Back at Helm for Tyler Boys

By TRACY WATSON KIDWELL — It’s “Back to the Future” for the Tyler Consolidated boys’ basketball program as the Silver Knights welcome back former, ultra-successful coach Rick Leach. Leach was the coach at Tyler Consolidated between 1994-2008, a stretch in which the Knights ...

Baker Begins 17th Season at MC

By KIM NORTH WOODSFIELD — Troy Baker begins his 17th year at Monroe Central with only three returning letterwinners, but the veteran head coach likes the potential his squad possesses. The Seminoles were 10-13 last winter and lost three mainstays in Allison Kuhn, Taryn Burkhart and Gracie ...

Soos Takes Over At Buckeye Local

By SETH STASKEY CONNORVILLE — Joe Soos arrives at the Buckeye Local gymnasium each afternoon the same as he did for the last several years without much difference. But, the long-time coach is in a slightly different role this season. Soos was hired as the Panthers coach late in the ...

Time Is Now for Panthers

By SETH STASKEY CONNORVILLE — These are good times for Buckeye Local. Buckeye Local has been on a steady upward climb during the course of the last four years, but Tom Figurski realizes his team hasn’t come anywhere near its ceiling. “We have set some lofty goals for ourselves,” ...

St. C. Back To Playing Fast

By SETH STASKEY ST. CLAIRSVILLE — To say Kim Clifford has been around the block and back probably isn’t giving him enough credit. The veteran St. Clairsville basketball coach has experienced a boatload of success during his career, which has spanned more than four decades total and ...

Devils Return 6 Letterwinners

By SETH STASKEY ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The St. Clairsville girls’ basketball team turned a few heads when it went on a late-season terror to reach the OVAC Class 4A championship game. Though the Red Devils fell in that game to Union Local and eventually lost in the opening round of the ...

Four Starters Back for ’Noles

By RICK THORP WOODSFIELD — As Jon Perkins opens his second season as head coach at Monroe Central, he’s quick to point out he has four starters back and another player who played a lot last winter. “We’re excited about that,” he beamed. Who can blame him? After starting his ...

Granato, Weir Looking to Get Back to Winning Ways

By RALPH COX WEIRTON — It has been a while since the Weir boys’ team has had a winning record and things at the end of last season didn’t look like the future was very bright with four seniors, three of whom did the bulk of the scoring, departing. But between last February and now a ...

Stead Feels He Finally Has Stability With Red Riders

By RALPH COX WEIRTON — For the past three years, Weir girls’ coach Rick Stead has worked to get some stability in his program and for the first time he feels the hard work and dedication his girls have put in will pay off. Stead has 19 girls out for basketball and preliminary ...

Leary Excited About Oak Glen’s Speed, Athleticism

By ANDREW GRIMM NEW MANCHESTER — Oak Glen girls’ basketball coach John Leary knows he has a young group heading into the season, but he is excited about the speed and athleticism they bring to the table. “We have a lot of team speed and kids that like to get up and down the floor,” ...