WEST VALLEY — West Valley Central School boys varsity basketball team had a 3 – 16 season, last year.
“An underclassman-laden team and a lack of depth contributed to the struggles,” Coach Jason Kearney said.
This year, the Wildcats will have three seniors who have started every game, since their sophomore seasons. Mike Grigsby, Colten Myers and Dylan Westfall are returning two-year starters for the Wildcats. Grigsby and Myers led the team in scoring, last year, each averaging approximately 8 points per game.
“I’m expecting a lot from them,” Kearney said. “They have been running the same schemes, offensively and defensively, and know how each other plays. They know what it takes, to get to the next level; now we just have to go out there and do it.
“They have been great leaders, during practices,” he added. “Now it’s time to translate that to the games. They have learned a lot over the past few years, but are showing signs of playing solid, team defense and working well together offensively.”
Kearney said that, this season, the players will have a lot more size than in years past. Guards Grigsby and Myers stand at 6 feet tall and 5 feet, 10 inches, respectively.
“In the past two years, we have been an undersized and underexperienced team, and this year we have more experience than most teams in the league, and are a bit bigger then we have been, in the past,” Kearney explained.
Westfall was the Wildcats’ leading rebounder, last season, averaging seven rebounds, per game. Westfall is a three-sport athlete, playing soccer and baseball, as well.
He will combine with senior Brandon Rockwood, who is a 6-foot, 3-inch center, to man the paint. Both players have been on the team since their sophomore seasons. With six players who contributed, last season, along with their top two scorers, top three rebounders and top two 3-point shooters, statistically, Kearney said he likes the overall experience of the group and has high expectations, for this season.
“Our experience and cohesiveness has been playing dividends, so far in practice, and preparing for the upcoming season,” he said. “These kids have been playing basketball together for a long time now, and are excited for this upcoming season. It has been great to have the same kids, because practices almost run themselves. They know the schemes of our offenses and defenses, inside and out. They are a great group of student athletes and [they] are very optimistic about this season.
“I am very pleased with the number of student athletes we have, this year, and the depth it will create for us,” Kearney continued. “That has been a downfall for us, over the past few years. They have been practicing hard and have been very dedicated, to the success of this year’s team.”
The Wildcats open the season at home against Forestville on Nov. 20, starting at 7:30 p.m.