WHEELING - Linsly coach James Wallace was none too pleased with how his boys' basketball team's season ended a year ago.
His players weren't too thrilled about it, either.
''We fell short and didn't make the (OVAC) tournament,'' Wallace said. ''That's obviously one of our standards of excellence we strive for. We fell short and we weren't happy with those results.
''We went back to the drawing board. Everyone did. From our youngest freshman to me and my assistant coaches. We all took a big, long hard look in the mirror and decided what was going to be best moving forward. We've come out and executed all the adjustments so far.''
Some of those adjustments will be toward replacing point guard Toddy Goodwin-Rowe, who transferred to Wheeling Park for his junior year.
''It's no different than any other year,'' Wallace said. ''People graduate, people decide to leave. You have to deal with it. No one lasts forever. It's the next man up.''
One man the fourth-year coach is happy to have back is 6-foot-4 senior Anthony Wallace.
As a junior, Wallace led the Cadets with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. The returning captain has already passed the 1,000-point milestone for his career.
''He's one of the best players in the valley, if not the best,'' the Linsly coach said of Wallace. ''He's really emerged as a special player because of the role he's taken as a leader. He's been a model of toughness for us.''
Sharp-shooting junior Colton Coss is also back for the Cadets after connecting on 29 3-pointers last season, as is senior Arien Seymour.
''We have a room full of guys who are excited to play basketball here,'' Wallace said. ''They're very committed to the program and are excited for a chance to be an excellent, excellent team.''
Other seniors include Reno Colaianni, Jameson Murray and Austin Whipkey, all of whom recently experienced success with the Linsly football team.
''When you look at some of our crossover guys like Murray or Whipkey or (junior) Zak Kriechbaum, those guys were lifting for football all summer, which, obviously, translates to us,'' Wallace said. ''They're getting faster, stronger and bigger. All the dividends from all that hard work has definitely paid off. They look like completely different players.
''The guys who don't do that, the guys who are a little more focused on basketball, they certainly don't just sit around and wait for the season to come around. I've been very impressed. We've had a strong, strong turnout. Before school guys are coming in and lifting at 5:30 in the morning. They're doing special things to make them special players. That's going to make a big difference between this year and last.''
Juniors on the Cadets roster are Jae Wook Ahn, Christian Braughler, Mackenzie Hammond, Josh Sands, Jake Steed and Tyson West. Cole Griffin headlines a sophomore class that includes Nick Aprea, Corey Cunningham, Sam Doe, Logan Goodnight, Isaiah Harvin, Matthew Hurley and Maverick Kelley.
''Nice thing about this group is they value and treasure practice,'' Wallace said. ''They understand that they come in everyday not to just shoot or get better at defense or offense. They come in wanting to win basketball games. That mentality makes it fun to be around. They enjoy doing what it takes to be successful. They've done it all summer and all fall.''
Freshmen looking to see some playing time are Greyson Archbold, Josh Auten, Floid Giddings, Jacob Murray, Malachi Onwuka, Austin Sims, Andrew Weiss, Alex Williamson and Max Zavatsky.
''We have a lot of new guys who are excited for opportunities who have stepped up,'' Wallace said. ''We have some guys that return that are looking for opportunities. We have a lot of hungry guys and practice has been really, really good because of that.
''I feel really good about our team.''