CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When the Nitro Wildcats suit up for the basketball season opener against Poca tonight in Nitro, they will do so without the scoring production of Angelo Sirianni.
Sirianni, the county's second leading scorer last year, accounted for 36 percent of the Wildcats' points last season. He has since moved a few miles down the road to play at West Virginia State.
With Sirianni departed, Nitro Coach Bryan Faber has little experience left on his roster, but he says that can be viewed as a positive.
"The thing about this group is they are very coachable," Faber said. "They play really, really hard and they've done everything that we've asked them to do."
Faber has compiled a 25-28 record since taking over the program in the fall of 2011 - a marked improvement from the 3-24 of the 2010-11 season.
Sirianni may have been the team's top scorer last season, but it is sophomore Trevon Taylor that has given Poca, tonight's season-opening opponent, nightmares since February.
Taylor rattled in an 8-foot jumper at the buzzer to take down Poca, 45-43, in that game.
"He had a really, really good season last year," Faber said. "We expect big things out of him."
Last season as a freshman, Taylor started as a shooting guard and averaged 12 points per game.
"This year we've been working hard," Taylor said. "We are much more fast paced this year and have a higher basketball IQ."
Added Tyler Barton: "Fast. We are a very fast team."
Barton, a two-year starter and the leading rebounder for Nitro, hurt his Achilles tendon against Logan in the ninth week of Nitro's football season. He hasn't scrimmaged, but practiced with the Wildcats' basketball team and Faber hopes he will be ready once the season starts.
Faber said that he hasn't picked a starting lineup, but there were plenty of guys fighting for playing time.