Milestones achieved by athletes

It’s been quite a year for basketball to say the least thus far.

I’ve seen my fair share of great games and hopefully there are more to come.

As the calendar turns to February, that means wrestling season is definitely heating up.

On Saturday, mat fans have the choice of taking in the likes of Huntington, Ripley and host Parkersburg inside Memorial Fieldhouse for the Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament. Also, Wirt County High School will be the host site for the Little Kanawha Conference wrestling championship.

Kudos to Parkersburg South wrestler Jake Alexander, who earned career victory No. 100 last weekend at the West Virginia Duals. Also of note, Williamstown guard Kenzie Smith recorded her 1,000th career point during the Yellowjackets’ 79-65 win Monday at Tyler Consolidated.

Before long, wrestling season is going to be over, which means postseason basketball isn’t too far off.

I’m not sure if any of our local teams are going to win a state championship, but the Mid-Ohio Valley does have a few contenders.

The one thing I’ve always loved about basketball is that everyone gets a so-called second chance after the regular season when the slate is wiped clean.

A couple things have struck me this winter while watching our area teams compete.

Many years ago I did a sports column on free throw shooting and from taking in some games and seeing the results at the foul line on a nightly basis via phone calls, I have to say it’s not been a pretty sight for those stats. It’s amazing how many times this year teams are barely hitting 50 percent from the charity stripe or even worse.

I’m not sure why that’s the case, but it’s true. Yes, the area does have some teams who can knock down the freebies, but there are just as many who can’t.

I have had a couple conversations recently with area wrestling coaches about today’s youth. We discussed the toughness of today’s wrestlers along with their dedication. Overall, there are still plenty of quality wrestlers who have that drive to be the best, but as a whole things aren’t the same as they were a decade or two ago.

I find the same to be true at times when it comes to basketball, where focus is sometimes lost and proves costly.

I’m not picking on Ravenswood head coach Mick Price’s boys by any means, but during Tuesday’s game at Williamstown the veteran hoops boss wanted the last shot of the first quarter.

Let’s just say when the Red Devils missed with several seconds left and the Yellowjackets hit a 3-pointer at the other end, coach Price was a little more than ticked.

Obviously, that’s just one example.

However, when a team doesn’t have a super high talent level, they definitely need to trust the coaching staff to know what’s best for their chances of winning.

Hopefully, our winter sports student-athletes continue working hard toward that individual state wrestling championship, just qualifying for Huntington or trying to get to states in hoops or swimming.

Contact Jay W. Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com