CHAPMANVILLE — With a blend of returning talent, experience, size and shooting, the Chapmanville Regional High School boys’ basketball team looks to have another successful hoop season.
The Tigers have been good — often times very good — in their longtime basketball history.
But the knock against Chapmanville has always been its failure of winning the big game.
Several losses in the Class AA regional championship game over the years have left the Tigers only one win away from reaching West Virginia’s coveted state tournament.
Many times Tug Valley was the team that blocked Chapmanville from reaching Charleston. Then for a short while in the 2000s when Logan was a Class AA school, it was the Wildcats which delivered the knockout blow.
Allan Hatcher hopes to change all of this.
The new Tigers’ mentor is a veteran basketball coach and has won several big games over the years.
He led the old Williamson High School to the state championship.
He then moved on to Kentucky and led three teams to the Bluegrass State’s Sweet Sixteen tournament a total of 11 times.
The last time he did it was two years ago when his Perry Central Commodores won the 14th Regional championship and advanced to the state tourney for the first time in school history. Perry Central went 23-5 last year under Hatcher but was upset in the post-season.
Can Hatcher do it here?
That’s the question and that’s the challenge.
But the legendary coach seems to be ready for that challenge or any kind of challenge that has been thrown his way.
Hatcher took the Chapmanville job back in August and began implementing his new hands-on approach, meeting with all of the area’s coaches from Buddy League to middle school to the freshman level.
Hatcher has brought enthusiasm, experience and a wealth of basketball knowledge that Chapmanville hopes will pay off in both the short-term and long term.
He comes into the Chapmanville program with a cupboard that wasn’t left bare by his predecessor, Harry Kirk, who went 45-26 in three seasons as coach of the Tigers. Chapmanville was 16-8 last season but lost 58-43 to Tolsia in the Class AA sectional tourney at Logan. CRHS went to the 2010 Class AA regional co-final but lost to Sissonville — again being left short of the state tournament by a single game.
With plenty of returning starters, role players and talented JV players, the Tigers hope to keep moving forward under their new coach.
“We want to get better every day,” Hatcher said. “That’s the key to this team. I think that we’ve got enough size and we’ve got enough depth. The biggest thing for us is to continue to work and get better each day. We’ve still got a long ways to go but the kids have a great attitude about working. When you do that and come to practice every day with that kind of attitude you have a pretty good chance at having a good basketball team. If we can continue to improve like we have I think that we’re going to have a pretty good basketball team.”
Chapmanville will look for leadership and scoring from its top returning player — 6-foot-4 senior forward/center Mackenzie Martin. Also back are senior guards Michael Hurst (5-9) and Dustin Smith (5-8). A fourth senior — 6-2 Denver Adkins — joins the squad after not playing the last few years.
“We have three seniors that played a lot last year,” Hatcher said. “We’ve got Mackenzie Martin, who is really a good player. Mackenzie can do it all. He can play inside or outside. He can even play the point. He’s very very versatile. It makes your job a lot easier when your best player is also your hardest worker.”
Hatcher said he’s also looking for big things from his other three seniors.
“Mike Hurst played a lot last year and so did Dustin Smith,” he said. “They have been leaders for us and have really worked hard and have led by example. Dustin Smith is a hard worker. He’s a key to our defensive scheme and he’s a guy that you can put on the other team’s best player. He’s our defensive stopper. He’s very aggressive. Dustin’s a winner.”
Adkins, a shooting guard, has been a pleasant surprise, Hatcher said.
“He’s 6-2 and can really shoot it,” he said. “He’s been a surprise. When I took this job nobody really mentioned Denver much because has hasn’t played in the last couple of years. He can shoot it and he’s an offensive threat. We’re working on some of his other skills. He’s done that and we’re excited. He’s our fourth senior. He’s strong and has got some size. He didn’t play last year but he’s really come a long way.”
The Tigers will also look for backcourt help from sophomore Trey Dalton (5-7).
“He’s probably got the best court vision as anybody on our basketball team,” Hatcher said of Dalton. “He’s a great passer. Trey is going to play. We’re expecting good things out of Trey.”
Kenny Plumley, a 6-4 junior, will likely start for the Tigers at the power forward position.
“He’s probably one of the best athletes on the team,” Hatcher said of Plumley. “He’s a tremendous jumper and can run like a dear. I’m expecting big things out of Kenny. He’s got a great attitude and is a really good athlete. He’ll play the post for us but he can also shoot the ball. He can step outside and shoot.”
Jordan Toler, a 5-11 guard, is a newcomer at Chapmanville. He transferred from Scott High School last year but did not play.
“He’s a really good athlete and he’s got a really good chance at playing,” Hatcher said. “He’s got great athletic ability and he’s quick. He can really guard you defensively. We’re expecting him to be in that mix.”
Jon Williamson, a 6-2 junior forward, is back. He received some playing time last year.
“He plays inside for us and he’s a strong kid. He works really hard,” Hatcher said of Williamson. “He’s really smart. We expect him to be a big help for us.”
Three-sport athlete and 6-5 junior forward/center Brady Cox is the tallest Tiger and gives CRHS an inside presence.
“He’s a good post player and an excellent football player. He has really stepped into basketball and has worked really hard,” Coach Hatcher said. “He’s strong and physical and is going to play for us. He’s got himself where he’s got an opportunity to play for us. I think the thing about Brady is that he gets better and better every day. He’s hungry and he wants to play.”
Zac Casto, a 6-2 sophomore and also a football player, is pressing for playing time.
“Zac, like Brady, is also a receiver in football,” Hatcher said. “He’s strong and he’s athletic. He got sick during tryouts and got behind a little bit but he’s made up a lot of ground. We really think Zac is going to be a part of this thing. He’s really active in practice. He also gets better and better every day at practice. Him and Brady have really been big pickups for us from the football team.”
Rounding out the Chapmanville roster are: juniors Tyler Bailey (6-0) and Tyler Brewster (6-3); and sophomores Nate Ramey (5-7), Joe Tackett (5-9), Trevor Nagy (5-8), Austin Kirk (6-0), Caleb Vance (5-9) and Jordan Cook (5-5).
As usual, Chapmanville has another challenging schedule.
Other than its home-and-home series against Cardinal Conference foes Herbert Hoover, Mingo Central, Tolsia, Scott, Wayne, Sissonville and Poca the Tigers also have some other interesting matchups.
Chapmanville plays Class A county rival Man three times, including a matchup on Dec. 28 at Chapmanville during the first night of the Tigers’ annual Bob Runyon Memorial Tournament.
CRHS also has a home-and-home against Class AAA Lincoln County and 2A Nicholas County.
Tug Valley, last year’s Class AA state champions, do not play the Tigers this season as the longtime series has come to an end. The Panthers have dropped down in classification to Single-A status.
Chapmanville does not play Logan either. The Tigers and Wildcats have not met in two years. Logan is coached by Allan Hatcher’s son, Mark Hatcher, who has become a legendary coach in his own right like his dad as he has led the Cats to state championships in 2005 and 2010 and is entering his 12th season at the helm.
Also off Chapmanville’s schedule is Point Pleasant, which left the Cardinal Conference and is now a 3A school.
The Tigers are set to battle Mingo Central, Tolsia, Scott and Wayne in their sectional tourney, which is again slated to be played at Logan.
“We’ve got a tough schedule,” Allan Hatcher said. “We didn’t lose any sleep about Tug Valley leaving our sectional. We still have a tough section with Scott and Tolsia coming off their state tournament run. Mingo Central will be very good. It’s not going to be easy and we’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Hatcher has put together an entirely new coaching staff.
His assistants are Joe Hatcher, Bo Berry, John Williamson, Paul Hurst and Larry Dingess. Williamson will also be the freshman team coach. Joe Hatcher played point guard on Logan’s 2004 Class AAA state tournament team.
“Joe is my brother’s son. He played point guard at Logan,” Hatcher said. “He’s been very good and has been active with our guards. He’s a young guy and is very hungry. John Williamson is our freshman coach. Bo Berry came from the middle school. Larry Dingess and Paul Hurst are helping us, too, with other facets of the program and have been big additions.”
2012-13 Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 11: Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14: Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18: at Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 21: Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 28: Man (Bob Runyon Memorial Tournament), 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 29: Mount View or Pikeview (Bob Runyon Memorial Tournament), TBA
Jan. 2: at Man, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 4: at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8: Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12: at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: Nicholas County, 2 p.m.
Jan. 22: at Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25: at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29: at Nicholas County, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1: Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5: at Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8: Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15: at Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16: Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: Man, 7:30 p.m.
2012-13 Boys’ Basketball Roster
NAME HT CLASS
Mackenzie Martin 6-4 Senior
Michael Hurst 5-9 Senior
Dustin Smith 5-8 Senior
Denver Adkins 6-2 Senior
Kenny Plumley 6-4 Junior
Brady Cox 6-5 Junior
Jordan Toler 5-11 Junior
Jon Williamson 6-2 Junior
Tyler Bailey 6-0 Junior
Tyler Brewster 6-3 Junior
Nate Ramey 5-7 Sophomore
Joe Tackett 5-9 Sophomore
Trevor Nagy 5-8 Sophomore
Austin Kirk 6-0 Sophomore
Zac Casto 6-2 Sophomore
Caleb Vance 5-9 Sophomore
Jordan Cook 5-5 Sophomore
Trey Dalton 5-7 Sophomore
HEAD COACH: Allan Hatcher (first year)
ASSISTANTS: Bo Berry, Joe Hatcher, Larry Dingess, John Williamson and Paul Hurst