CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A year removed from a schedule full of departures and disappointing results, the Capital boys basketball team declared a statement win in its season opener at George Washington on Friday.
After finishing 10-15 last year during a season in which more than a half-dozen players left the team via academic or personal reasons, Capital's 83-73 season-opening victory at GW provided the Cougars with great reason for improved results.
"You always want to start the season off with a win and to be able to win at GW, it's a good way to start the season off," Cougars Coach Carl Clark said. "We wanted to be successful (Friday night) and we came away with a win. We're pleased about that."
Capital exhibited confidence across the floor both offensively, with three starters scoring in double figures, and defensively as the Cougars forced nearly 20 turnovers.
The team appeared to play Friday at its potential that many opponents expected to see last year, though Clark admitted he's not sure why Capital received such attention last season.
"I don't know where everybody thinks we had a lot of talent last year," he said. "I've tried to explain, in the last few years, we've had some kids that have never played varsity basketball before. They moved right in from (junior varsity) ball into varsity ball, and we didn't have a whole lot of experience last year - and then we lost about eight kids from the varsity because of grades and kids quitting."
With several players departing the team, more playing opportunities, including starting minutes, were available for Capital's younger players, Clark said.
"Brad Grose, who was a sophomore last year, played a lot, started a lot," Clark said. "Jordan Kinney was a sophomore last year, and he played a lot, he started. He did a good job for his first year. Bryce Goldsmith, who was a freshman last year, came in and did a good job. Those three guys are starting this year."
Each of the three players started on Friday, with Grose and Goldsmith combining for 27 points, as Grose added 12 rebounds. Kinney scored each of his five points from the free-throw line in the game's final two minutes to help cement the win.
In addition, Clark said sophomore Miguel Bays, who started Friday, provides the team with another spark after missing the majority of last season with an anterior cruciate ligament tear.
Senior Carrington Morris, the team's leader and perhaps most seasoned player, said he's seen his teammates' confidence and play improve vastly since last season, particularly the success from Kinney.