Boys basketball: Youthful Skyhawks look to join state’s elite after 8-0 start
MADISON, W.Va. -- Judging by their record and roster, the Scott Skyhawks appear to be ahead of schedule.
"I agree completely," Scott Coach Nick Cabell said. "I attribute that to all of the work they did during the summer and the off-season. We played 49 games during the summer and 16 more games during the fall. My juniors are playing like seniors, my sophomores are playing like juniors, and my freshmen are playing like sophomores."
Stocked with seven juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen compared to only one senior, one would expect a breakthrough season from the Boone County school and Cardinal Conference program next year rather than this year.
That has not been the case, however, and the Skyhawks' lone senior is a big reason why.
Team captain and shooting guard Matthew Dolan has lived up to both of his titles, scoring 140 of the Skyhawks' 505 points and leading them to an 8-0 start this season.
A three-year starter and four-year contributor, Dolan played on Scott's 2010-11 Class AA state runner-up team. He is 84 points shy of the 1,000-point mark.
"Matt is a great player," Cabell said of Dolan, who scored 15 points in the Skyhawks' 63-51 victory versus Chapmanville on Friday. "He is a great kid on and off the court. He is a good role model for the young guys.
"He leads by example about 90 percent of the time, but when he needs to be vocal, he will step up and do it. As a coach, it is great when you have a guy like that because that is one less thing you have to worry about. He listens to everything. He probably has the biggest will to win on the team, and that rubs off on his teammates."
Dolan is the unquestioned leader of a seven-man nucleus that features junior point guard Cody Brown, junior center Dylyn Brown, sophomore small forward Eric May, sophomore point guard Kirk Price, sophomore center Anthony Sigmon and sophomore power forward Logan Webb.
Four juniors - shooting guard Dylan DeHart, power forward Tyler Hill, point guard Nick Kuhn and shooting guard Brandon Lafauci - also are starting to earn more playing time.
"I'm hoping we will be 12-deep by sectional time," said Cabell, whose team scores 63.1 points and allows 51.6 points per game. "It is coming slowly but surely."
Dolan leads the team in scoring at 17.5 points per game, followed by May (12.4), Webb (10.0), Sigmon (7.9) and Cody Brown (7.4).
"There isn't a kid who goes into the game for us who can't score," Cabell said. "The biggest thing is our unselfishness. We just try to find the open guy. It starts with our point guard, Cody Brown. He could score 15 points per game if he wanted to, but he is happy dishing the ball."
Cabell, who is in his second season as the head coach at his alma mater, led Scott to a 7-16 finish in his first year.
"After taking so many butt-kickings last year, they were determined and focused not to do it again this year," said Cabell, whose team also has victories versus Lincoln County (62-52), Tolsia (57-46), Sherman (73-44), Mingo Central (62-61), Wayne (80-52), Sissonville (50-49) and Kentucky's Pike County Central (60-58) this season.
"They didn't like that feeling, and they don't want to experience it again. They aren't going to settle for a loss without going down with a major fight."
The Skyhawks will face their toughest test next week. Scott will play three consecutive Cardinal Conference road games - at Tolsia (3-4) on Tuesday, at Poca (7-1) on Friday and at Herbert Hoover (5-2) on Jan. 15 - before welcoming Class AA perennial power Wyoming East (6-1) to Madison on Jan. 16.
"Tolsia is never an easy place to play," Cabell said. "They are a senior-dominated team, and they are only going to get better once that senior leadership starts to kick in. I'm really worried about that game. Poca is playing some of their best basketball. Herbert Hoover won't be easy, either.
"Wyoming East is going to be rough. They just beat Westside by 10 (on Friday). It's going to tell us where we stand in the state. I don't think we are in the top tier of teams. I think we are in that second tier of teams. I would love for them to prove me wrong, but we are going to find out one way or the other because we have Wyoming East next week and Bluefield the following week."