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 experience this year.
The Monarchs have three solid returning starters and a group of four more that rotated through the starting lineup last year.
“Last year was a learning curve for both the players and me as a first-year coach at John Marshall,” Clutter said. “Year 1 was more about building a team that respected the game, and each other.
“We now have a group of young men that will work extremely hard and play unselfish basketball with a team-first mentality.”
Leading the way is 5-foot-9 senior guard Gunner Thompson, who averaged 17.4 points a night as a junior. The other two full-time starters back are 6-4 junior pivot Bryce Yoho, who was also in double-figures at 10 a contest, and 6-foot sophomore Justin Frohnapfel, who added six points an outing.
The two seniors and two juniors that will continue to round out the starting lineup, on any given night, include seniors Tanner McLaughlin (5-10) and Dustin Hall (6-1) along with juniors Devin Norris (6-0) and Aaron Reid (6-0).
Others available to lend a hand are seniors BJ Stewart (6-0) and Clinton Whitlatch (6-2); juniors Sean Fitzpatrick (5-11) and Ryan Campbell (5-9); sophomore Adam Miller (6-3) and freshman Derrick Derrow (6-1).
Sophomore and freshmen that could lend a hand along the way are Zach Bishop, Derian O’Bryan, Josh Shramm, Isaac Babiczuk, Peyton Berner, Harry Galloway, Michael Mason, Luke Canestraro, Daemian Holmes, Jeramia Shaw, Dominick Dulaney, Clayton Blair, Cooper Curto, David Milan, Cole Gilbert, Rece McCoy, Dylan Hill, Reid Wiley, Wiley Pratt and Garrett Gellner.
Assistant coaches include Zach Robertson, Justin Eikleberry and Jason Eikleberry.
“We will have a solid 7-8 players ready to contribute right from the start with 4-5 more pushing hard to earn what can be quality time on varsity down the road,” Clutter said. “So, in the long run, we could have as much as a 10-12 man rotation.
“Our goals are to establish a winning attitude, boost our confidence level and get John Marshall basketball back over and beyond the .500 mark as far as possible. The other big one is to win the sectionals and get that home game against either Morgantown or University and battle for a shot to go down state.”
The schedule remains very competitive and includes home-and-home with Steubenville and individual games with St. Clairsville and Ripley. A couple of spots on the schedule that Clutter is excited about are an overnight stay with games at University and Preston County and a Feb. 3 doubleheader with the girls’ team that has Buckhannon-Upshur visiting the Moundsville Fieldhouse.