Prep golf: Hoops no longer No. 1 for GW's Basile
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Washington High School's Harry Basile looked nothing like a basketball player when the diminutive, bespectacled 12-year-old hit 3-pointers at will in the South Hills Youth Basketball League.
As a sophomore, Basile looks more suited to the court than a golf course, but his interest has shifted toward a prep career on the links.
He's making the most of it.
Basile will enter today's nine-hole Kanawha County Golf Championships at Shawnee Golf Course among the favorites in a tournament that includes two-time defending Class A state champion Charleston Catholic, along with Capital, Herbert Hoover, Nitro, Riverside, Sissonville and St. Albans.
His goal goes beyond what will happen today near Institute.
Basile already has a Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament championship under his belt and he didn't start getting serious about golf until the eighth grade at John Adams Middle School.
"I played basketball my whole life," said Basile, who admitted to not being the most agile athletes. "I'm just getting really serious about golf. I lost a little interest in golf. I wasn't excelling like I was in basketball. It was like a 'choose one sport' thing.
"My eighth-grade year was one of my best years. I shot like 76 in the county tournament and then I chose golf."
With consistency, steady play and a solid short game, Basile said the Patriots should perform well today, in the regionals, and the state tournament Oct. 8-9 in Wheeling - if they manage to qualify.
During Wednesday's nine-hole match with Charleston Catholic at the Edgewood Country Club, the Patriots won by 19 strokes using six players from each team. Basile, the No. 1 on a logjammed Patriots' team, had GW's highest score with a 41.
Taylor Giles' 34 led GW, while Kyle Bird shot a 36 and Drew Call, Matt Nelson and Chris Florence each shot a 37.
The Irish' top score came from senior Aaron Persily, whose 38 was one stroke ahead of sophomore Nick Casingal's 39.
Conditions weren't ideal with intermittent rain and damp grounds making the greens unpredictable.
That's where Basile comes in. His ability to maintain his focus under a tough situation has been one of his biggest bugaboos.
"It's mostly just bad shots," he said. "I get a little angry sometimes. Like a little too angry, I guess. I think I'm getting a little better at controlling that.
"I just stay focused and worry about the shot I'm on. I don't really think about other holes or what I have to shoot."
It's quite a challenge for the emotional Basile.
"It's tough," he said. "It is a challenge, definitely."
His maturing couldn't come at a better time as the high school golf season winds down to the final three weeks. Additionally, Basile said he's better in 18-hole tournaments - which is what he'll face in the Class AAA Region 3 Tournament Oct. 1 at Berry Hills Country Club (his home course) and the state tournament.
"In 18-hole tournaments I've been playing really well," he said. "In nine-hole tournaments, I've been kind of inconsistent. I don't know ... I really don't know, that's just how it's been."
He won't have to worry about those much longer.
As far as basketball is concerned, he plans on taking his 6-foot, 2-inch frame to the court again in the winter.
"I really do love the sport, it's just so much fun," Basile said. "It's way more different than golf. Golf gets a little boring."
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC will get another look at George Washington today in the Kanawha County Championships as the Irish seeks to win a third consecutive Class A state title.
The Irish's No. 1 is Christian Casingal, who was the Class A medalist as a freshman in 2011. Its No. 2 is Persily. Casingal's younger brother Nick, as well as Cameron Blakley, Allie Persily - Aaron's younger sister - and Peri Bailey round out Catholic's top six.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.