Challenges are not new for this year’s Wyoming East basketball team.
Chapmanville, their quarterfinal opponent in the state tournament this Thursday, is a big one. Literally.
“They have two 6-8 guys inside and probably their best player is Drew Williamson,” said WEHS coach Derek Brooks. “He’s a guard. but he’s 6-3.”
The Tigers (21-4) lost to No. 1 Fairmont Senior and two out of state teams early in the season. Since then, their only setback has been a three-point loss to No. 5 Mingo Central.
“They’re a very good team,” Brooks commented. “We’re going to have to have great effort and good team defense.
“We have to shoot the ball well,” he added. “When we shoot well, I feel like we can play with anybody.”
Williamson averages 20 ppg for the Tigers. Another guard, Dylan Smith, scores 10.5 ppg.
The other starters are 6-7 senior Hunter Neil (9.8 ppg), 6-8 freshman Obinna Anochili-Killen (8.8 ppg) and junior Kyle Browning (9.6 ppg).
Chapmanville was in the tourney last year and lost in the quarterfinals to Poca.
The Warriors were also in the field, beating Robert C. Byrd before losing to Poca.
East (15-10) was 7-7 at one point and has gone 8-3 since then. “All teams have ups and downs,” stated Brooks. “Sometimes you slump, sometimes it’s smooth sailing.”
Guard Jon Sims and forward Dylan Brehm each average 15 ppgs. Center Zach Cook scores 11 ppg, and guard Corey McKinney averages 10 ppg.
“I think having five seniors and the doubt people had about them has motivated them,” Brooks remarked. “They give 110 perent and they don’t want the run to end.”
Practices have been going well.
“They’ve been focused, probably the best they have been all year,” the coach said. “They’re working hard.”
The Warriors and Tigers square off at 9:30 a.m. This is the first ever basketball meeting between the schools.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.