Strong senior class to guide Tigers
Coach says group of six brings something different to team, especially leadership
Editor’s note: The following is a series of previews of area high school girls and boys basketball teams. The series of previews will run in each edition through Thursday.
ELKINS — For the second straight season, the Elkins High School boys basketball team must replace a talented senior class.
The Tigers lost six players to graduation from last year’s 10-14 squad, including the top two scorers in Blake Harris and DeAndre Owens.
Harris was an All-Big 10 Conference second-team selection and also led the squad in assists.
However, third-year coach Amrit Rayfield is blessed to once again have a top-notch senior class in place in 2021.
“Our group of seniors have been playing together since middle school,” Rayfield said. “They have stuck together and with the adversity we are going through with the pandemic, I’m very thankful to have them.
“They all bring something to the table and their strong leadership skills have transitioned down to the younger players.”
The top returning scorer and rebounder is senior forward Mitchell Price, who averaged 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 2019-20.
Other seniors include guard Trevor Chenoweth, guard-foward Luke Jackson, forward Jordan Goux, forward Peyton Isner and guard Ben Boggs.
Isner has signed to play football at Alderson Broaddus.
“We have good size and those guys are very versatile,” Rayfield said. “They can score in the paint or step out on the perimeter.”
Isner is 6-foot-5, while Price and Mitchell are 6-foot-3.
The remainder of the current varsity roster is made up of two juniors — guards Jaydon Shreve and Austin Harris — and sophomores Cory Harper (guard-forward), Malachi Watson (guard-forward), Max Jackson (guard) and Tanner Miller (guard).
“Cory led the junior varsity team in scoring last season and can play multiple positions,” Rayfield said.
Rayfield said a different starting lineup could take to the court each game, depending on matchups.
“We have four or five guys that could average in double figures,” he said. “We want to get up and down the court and force some turnovers on defense that lead to easy points.
“One question mark we have is with the ball-handling. That will probably be done by committee.”
The Tigers, like the rest of the Big 10 Conference, face a grueling schedule.
They will face the likes of top 10 ranked squads No. 1 Robert C. Byrd, Fairmont Senior, North Marion and Lincoln.
“It will be a challenge. We will face some tough competition,” Rayfield said. “There are certainly no easy games in the Big 10.”
Beginning this season, there will be four classifications in place for basketball.
Elkins will compete in triple-A.
The Tigers will be in Region II, Section 2 with Lewis County, Robert C. Byrd, Lincoln and Liberty-Harrison.
Region II, Section 1 includes Fairmont Senior, East Fairmont, Grafton and Notre Dame.
Elkins begins the season Saturday at Preston.