Boys basketball: Freshman Taylor emerging for Wildcats
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There are seasons when individual awards are decided by the slightest of margins, and even then only decided as teams progress through the postseason.
Then there are seasons like the one currently evolving in the Kanawha Valley. Barring injury or an unexpected late-season rush of production by any of a small handful of players, George Washington guard Luke Eddy appears destined to repeat as the KV Player of the Year. He won the award as a junior last season.
In fact, only one of the three annual basketball awards doled out by the Daily Mail appears to be in question with six weeks left in the regular season, thanks to the steady play of Nitro freshman Trevon Taylor.
"His play has been huge. Absolutely huge, especially with some of the sickness and injuries that we've had to deal with on our team this year," Nitro Coach Bryan Faber said of Taylor's play. "He's had to step up and play a big role, and it's not easy going from middle school basketball to varsity basketball in a year.
"He's learning to play strong, learning to play at the varsity level, but that's about it from a development standpoint. He's always had a high skill level."
Taylor, a 6-foot-1 guard, averages 11.3 points per game for the Wildcats (7-7), who play at Winfield (7-7) on Wednesday.
He did not see action in the Wildcats' first four games. Once he cracked the lineup, however, he has steadily been the team's second-leading scorer behind senior and 1,000-point scoring guard Angelo Sirianni. A season-ending injury to senior Sam Neff, who tore the ACL in his right knee, has created a greater need for production from the freshman, as well as from Sirianni.
"He's going to be phenomenal," Sirianni said of his backcourt mate. "He works hard in practice, and I push him. You've got to have somebody there to be your mentor, so that's what I try to be for him."
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MARSHALL KISER said freshman Thad Moss has begun to get better acclimated to the Red Dragon offense after missing nearly a month with a sprained ankle. The 6-2 freshman and son of San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Randy Moss had a season-high 14 points and five rebounds in SA's 66-62 loss to Nitro last Tuesday.
"We just felt like we could get the ball inside to him," Kiser said of Moss' performance against Nitro, in which he had 11 second-half points and grabbed all five of his rebounds.
"Moving stuff inside to him will open some more stuff up for Nathan, so that's what we'll try to do," Kiser said, referring to SA's leading scorer, senior guard Nathan McNeil.
That progress appeared to take a step backward later in the week. Moss was held to five points in the Dragons' 72-51 loss to top-ranked South Charleston, and when SA lost its sixth straight in dropping a 55-50 decision to visiting Point Pleasant on Saturday. The Big Blacks held Moss to two points.
St. Albans (4-10) plays Hurricane at home Wednesday and then travels to Winfield on Friday.
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PUTNAM COUNTY'S four high schools have a combined record of 43-13 entering the week, with Class AA No. 2 Poca's 13-1 mark leading the way. Class A No. 7 Buffalo is 12-1, Hurricane is 11-4 and Winfield is 7-7.
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CHARLESTON CATHOLIC will play its 100th game at the Charleston Catholic Athletic Complex tonight when the Class A No. 1 Irish (11-1) take on visiting Gilmer County (7-6).
The gym, which opened in time for the beginning of the 2003-04 season, has been particularly beneficial to Catholic's won-loss record. The Irish are 94-5 at home since it opened, suffering two losses to Poca, as well as losses to Logan, Wheeling Central and Parkersburg Catholic there.
Poca, which last beat the Irish in their own gym in 2009 under then-assistant coach Vic Herbert and then again last year with Allen Osborne on the bench, is the only school to beat Catholic at the Athletic Complex in regulation. Logan, Central and Parkersburg Catholic went to overtime to get wins there.
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GREENBRIER EAST remains unbeaten, and can probably thank the absence of regular-season replay for that fact.
The Spartans (15-0) edged Class A No. 2 Tug Valley (11-3) 63-61 at the King Coal Classic in Logan Friday night when East's Rondale Watson hit a shot from half court at the buzzer to overturn a 61-60 deficit for the fourth-ranked team in Class AAA.
However, several photos and fan videos have emerged since Friday that clearly show the clock at Willie Akers Arena with no time remaining and the backboard lit up signifying the end of the game before the shot left Watson's right hand.
While video review is allowed in state championship games - the only history of its use is from the 2011 title game that assured George Washington of its state title - it is not used in the regular season.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT