Looking at West Virginia Class A girls hoops

While some of my readers who pick up this column will look at the calendar and still see football on the menu for the next few weeks and wonder why I am writing about basketball, others will be very excited to see this column come out because we are quickly approaching basketball season.

Practice for all teams begin Nov. 7. As usual you will be able to find a preview for your favorite area teams in our annual winter tab later in the month of December but right now I thought I would whet our hoops enthusiasts appetites with some of the Class A schools who will be making waves in 2016.

A quick stop in the middle of the state in Glenville is where we begin our look. “But Joe,” I can here some of you say, What could be so important in Gilmer County?”

Well readers, Glenville happens to be the home of the 2015 Class A state champion Gilmer County Titans.

The Amy Chapman-led team pulled off the upset heard around the state in Charleston when it edged seven-time defending state champion Huntington St. Joe, 42-41.

They will not be a one-hit wonder either.

Gilmer returns the core of the team in Carly Somerville, second team all-stater Kylie Shuff and first team all-state captain Riley Fitzwater, along with some of the important role players who helped the Titans to the first title in program history. Chapman will have to replace 3-point aficianado and state championship game hero Emilie Jedamski but Somerville can shoot the ball from behind the arc and she has plenty of girls ready to step up to the big stage.

A little closer to home, Fred Sauro’s Williamstown Yellowjackets will be gunning hard to unseat Gilmer from atop the Little Kanawha Conference after giving the Titans all they could handle a year ago. Like the blue and white, Sauro returns a ton of talent starting with point guard Ashley Morris. The diminuitive fireball is a bundle of energy on the court and isn’t afraid to step up when her team needs her. Despite her great play, the senior can be erractic at times.

However, she is another year wiser so it will be exciting to see what she has up her sleeve for her final season.

Joining her in the final year of their Yellowjackets career will be five seniors including volleyball standouts BreeAnn Reynolds and Brooke Stewart.

Two sophomores also will play a big part in Sauro’s bid to get past Huntington St. Joe’s into the state tournament. Bethany Arnold and Jenna Pridemore saw limited playing time last season on varsity but both have the tools and talent to step in and immediately help out the perennial LKC power.

Finally, we head to St. Marys where the post-Ashley Hall era begins with spirited optimism. Seven seniors return for head man Howard Meeks’ squad that pushed Huntington St. Joe to the limit in the state semifinals last season. Jordan Fox and Jenna Nichols will be the primary scoring threats for the Blue Devils. Whitney Jemison’s continued development also will be important especially when Meeks and company take on Gilmer County and Williamstown, which both have some height in the low post.

Some non-local teams to keep an eye on this season include: Huntington St. Joe, Notre Dame, Summer County, Tucker County, Fayetteville and Charleston Catholic.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com