With the addition of Midland Trail to the delayed 2021 high school basketball season, Man High School’s schedule is now complete.
The Hillbillies’ game with Midland Trail is set for April 8 on the road.
Man’s 18-game schedule will be quite odd.
The Billies are scheduled to tip off with eight straight home games starting off with the season opener on March 5 against Buffalo at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse.
The Billies then close out by playing eight out of their last 10 contests on the road. The only home contests during that span are an added home game to the schedule on April 3 against Independence and the April 16 regular season finale at home vs. River View.
After opening with the Bison, Man hosts Calhoun County on March 6, Tolsia on March 9, Mingo Central on March 16, Logan on March 19, Sherman on March 20, Tug Valley on March 24 and Van on March 26.
Man does not, however, play Chapmanville this season, its other county rival.
The Billies received a lot of off-season attention last summer and into the fall before the season was delayed once, then twice by COVID-19 concerns.
After logging an impressive 18-6 record last year as a Double-A school and returning everyone from that team, Man is expected to be a state championship contender this season as a Single-A school.
Man has several players coming back this season, including Caleb Blevins, Coach TJ Blevins’ son, Austin Ball, Ryan Cozart, Peyton Adams, Jeremiah Harless and others.
Caleb Blevins broke Man’s all-time 3-point shooting record for most 3s in a game last season with 10.
Man was led last season by 6-5 Ball, who averaged 19.2 points and 9.5 points per game during his sophomore season. He closed out the year with 12 double-double performances. Ball also had a team-best 49 blocked shots.
Caleb Blevins, a 6-3 junior, averaged 13.3 points a game and was Man’s top 3-point shooter, sinking 53 from beyond the arc.
Adams, a 5-8 senior guard, checked in at 9.6 points per contest last season. He dished out a team-high 100 assists and made 38 shots from 3-point land.
Jackson Tackett, a 6-2 junior, averaged 8.7 points per contest last year for Man. He had 207 rebounds, second on the team to Ball, and had six double-doubles.
Joining the Billies this season are transfers Israel Canterbury (Belfry, Ky.) and Colton Blankenship (Mingo Central).
Home-and-away series with new Class A sectional foe Tug Valley and Class AAA county rival Logan highlight Man’s schedule.
Other highlights are home-and-away series against Class AA Mingo Central and a single game vs. 2A Wyoming East.
The WVSSAC moves to a new four-class format this season, the first time that’s ever been done. The pilot system will last two years through the 2021-22 season.
Man’s new Class A sectional should be an interesting one as the Billies are set to participate in a new Single-A section with traditional basketball powers Tug Valley and Tolsia. Sherman and Van, two Class A schools in Boone County, round out the field.
Versatility is the name of the game for the Billies in Coach T.J. Blevins’ system.
Man likes to run-and-gun and no one is afraid to step out and launch a 3-pointer.
Everyone can shoot, so everyone is a threat with the long range jumper.
“At any time any of them can shoot the 3,” Blevins said. “We like to run and gun. If we come down the floor three on one or three on two they’ve got the green light. Everyone of them on the floor. They’ve got the green light to pull up and shoot.”
The Billies also have versatility in handling the ball and that also poses matchup problems for many of Man’s foes.
“We have five guys that can play the one/two positions,” Blevins said. “All of them stretch the floor and are very athletic. I have a center, Austin Ball, who could run the point if need be. That’s a rarity because he’s the tallest player that we’ve got. Our top eight in our rotation can all bring the ball up the court. That is a rarity.”
Man hit the hardwood last week as practices got under way for high school basketball teams across the state of West Virginia.
2021 Man High School Boys’ Basketball Schedule:
March 5: Buffalo, 7:30 p.m.
March 6: Calhoun County, 5 p.m.
March 9: Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
March 16: Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
March 19: Logan, 7:30 p.m.
March 20: Sherman, 4 p.m.
March 24: Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
March 26: Van, 7:30 p.m.
March 27: at Sherman, 4 p.m.
March 29: at Logan, 7:30 p.m.
April 2: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
April 3: Independence, 7:30 p.m.
April 5: at Calhoun County, 7:30 p.m.
April 8: at Midland Trail, 7:30 p.m.
April 10: at Van, 7:30 p.m.
April 12: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
April 14: at Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
April 16: River View, 7:30 p.m.