The rebuilding process begins now for Coach Brad Napier and the Chapmanville Regional High School basketball team.
After four straight trips to the Class AA state tournament, two state championships, a state runner-up finish and last year’s COVID-19 shortened 22-2 season in which the Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the state, a new and younger crop of Tigers are set to hit the hardwood.
Gone are three senior starters and three All-State players in Obinna Anochili-Killen, Andrew Shull and Philip Mullins — all of whom are playing collegiate basketball now.
The Tigers, however, are still talented, albeit youthful.
“It might take us to mid-season or the end of the season to play our best before we really get into the right direction but I think that we can do that,” sixth-year coach Brad Napier said. “It just might take awhile.”
Balance and depth could both be key this year for the young Tigers.
“When roles change on team it’s not the same,” Napier said. “We are going to be totally different than last year and their roles on the team will be totally different. The experiences that they had last year will be different than what they will be doing this year. It will be totally different for them and it’s going to take awhile for them and for everyone else on the team. We’ve got some good players and some talent but they are just inexperienced. It’s going to take some time.”
The Tigers will be fielding a young team this year.
Two starters are back, however, in 6-foot-4 Brody Dalton and 6-1 guard Isaiah Smith. Both started as freshmen last season.
“We’re going to be balanced this year,” Napier said. “We’ve been that way the last few years. We’re going to put different guys out there but those two guys have probably played more at the varsity level then anyone on the team. But they are still sophomores and there will still be a lot of growing pains there. We’re not going to be as seasoned as we were in the past but we are going to be athletic and we have some length. We might be a little more athletic than we’ve been in a while.”
Colton Craddock, 6-1 junior, also returns for Chapmanville. He saw some court time last season.
CRHS will also look to senior Hunter Jeffrey for playing time.
Senior Isaiah Fleming is also pressing for playing time.
Preston Smith, a junior, also returns. He started four games for the Tigers last year.
Isaac Butcher, a junior, also figures into the mix for Chapmanville.
Sophomore Trey Butcher also expects to contribute for the Tigers. He can shoot and score and CRHS will be needing that this season.
Devon Workman is a sophomore point guard and could also see action.
Landon Tomblin, a sophomore and freshman Zion Blevins are two other top Tiger players.
Chapmanville stays as a Double-A school this year as the WVSSAC moves to a four-class format for the first time ever.
The Tigers’ new Class AA sectional foes are Liberty-Raleigh and Mingo Central. The Miners are a holdover from last year’s six-team Double-A super sectional.
CRHS is scheduled to open the season on March 5 at home against the Poca Dots.
The Tigers then play host to Wyoming East on March 9 and Nitro on March 12 before playing at Logan on March 16.
Chapmanville’s 16-game regular season features 10 Cardinal Conference games and six non-league games — home-and-away series against Mingo Central, Wyoming East at Liberty-Raleigh.
2021 Chapmanville Regional High School Boys’ Basketball Schedule:
March 5: *Poca, 7:30 p.m.
March 9: Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
March 12: *Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
March 16: *at Logan, 7:30 p.m.
March 17: Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
March 19: *at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
March 23: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
March 25: *at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
March 26: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
March 30: *Scott, 7:30 p.m.
April 1: *Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
April 3: *Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
April 6: at Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
April 7: Liberty-Raleigh, 7:30 p.m.
April 13: at Liberty-Raleigh, 7:30 p.m.
April 15: *Logan, 7:30 p.m.
*Cardinal Conference game