SCIOTOVILLE – The first step in trying to take a leap forward as a program is having players willing to put in the work.
After the graduation of senior 1,000 point scorers Kyle Flannery and Will Shope, the last vestiges of the Tartans’ 2016 Division IV district final team, East coach Adam Bailey believes his players have been working towards improving on their sectional final appearance a season ago.
“Our kids have came in and have worked extremely hard,” Bailey said of the Tartans season. “They’ve been very receptive to our coaching and trying to work on the things we’ve asked them to do.”
Returning for the Tartans beginning the 2019-20 season are seniors Austin Smith, Chase Coyle, and Hagen Metzler. Smith, the most experienced of the bunch, has been a regular rotation piece and more recently a starter for Bailey’s unit since his sophomore season.
Now that they’re seniors, Bailey believes their leadership and overall desire to improve has been unquestioned.
“He averaged almost a double-double last season for us,” Bailey said of Smith. “I think we’re going to have to do a good job, especially early in the year, of getting him touches where he can be successful. Chase has been our quarterback or running back in football the last few seasons, he’s a gamer. Always willing to listen and do what it takes to win. Hagen (Metzler) is also someone who we may rely on early, his first season was last year and he was able to improve as the season went along.”
Bailey continued to mention first-year player Bryson Ramirez (5-10, Sr.), Kyle Winston (5-10, Jr.), Troy Comer (5-9, So.), Leviticus Justice (5-7, So.), Andrew Pyles (5-11, So.), Austin Baughman (5-11, Fr.), and Landehn Pernell (6-2, Fr.) as players who will see time on the court for the Tartans this season. Noah Stiltner (5-11, Sr.) and Gavin Johnson (5-9, So.) round out the Tartans varsity roster for the coming year.
Bailey admits that while his team’s goal is to be playing their best basketball come February, their focus as of a week before the season is set on improving game-by-game and day-by-day.
In addition to their regular SOC I slate, East’s schedule will include non-league contests vs. South Webster, Eastern, Rose Hill (Ky.) twice, Northwest, South Gallia, and Manchester.
“I feel like any team’s goal should be try to make it to ‘The Convo’,” Bailey said. “With our youth and inexperience, we’ve got to take it slow and take it one game at a time. We want to be playing our best basketball come February, regardless of the wins and losses throughout the year. Even if we have some ups and downs, I think we’ve got the type of kids who will come in and work hard and strive to get better.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved