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Adjusting well

New South hoops’ coaches satisfied with hard effort

Larry Butcher/From The Herald-Dispatch Parkersburg South's Lavron Pelfrey (34) drives the lane against Huntington during the West Virginia Class AAA, Region IV tournament girls semifinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 at Lucas-Archer Gym at Huntington High School.

PARKERSBURG — Much like how change is coming to the Erickson All-Sports Facility with a new head man on the sideline, the basketball teams at Parkersburg South welcome new head coaches to the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.

Yes, basketball season isn’t here yet. However, that only means it’s the time of the year for offseason practices and workouts.

Brett Rector preps his boys’ squad heading into his first year, and the former Ravenswood hardwood standout is hard at work getting his group ready. His team was in the middle of 3-on-3 hoops with each other when he shared his thoughts on the whole process.

“Basically, I got the job on May 14, and we’ve been hard at work ever since,” Rector said during Monday’s practice at the ROAC. “I’ve coached these guys at the Wheeling Shootout. We’ve played at the University of Charleston, we played at (George Washington) in a shootout and we’re going to John Marshall on Friday. Then, we’ve had roughly 15 practices, or so, in between.

Despite the departure of seniors like Seth Fallon and Brayden Mooney, this year’s boys’ team returns seniors who look to take the reigns and lead the group into the 2019 preseason. Malaki Sylvia led coach Mike Fallon’s Patriots in scoring (17.0 ppg) and is joined by senior talent in Nathan Currey and Dylan Day. More upperclassmen ballers grace the ROAC this year for Rector and his staff, and that portion of the team could be a big key to a successful 2019-20 campaign.

Parkersburg South’s Malaki Sylvia, right, battles with a Morgantown player for a rebound during a 2018-19 regular-season game. Sylvia and company are adjusting well to new head coach Brett Rector during the annual three-week period.

“Right now, we’re doing a lot of play stuff and just trying to get ready for the season,” Currey said of the practices.

Those practices paired with the experience gained from players last year gives the team reasons to be optimistic heading into this upcoming season.

“I think we’re just coming back deeper than what we were last year,” Day said. “Last year, some of us weren’t ready to play in big spots. This year, we’re really deep.”

As for getting the younger players ready, Sylvia is prepared to do just that.

“You know, you’re trying to get them ready for the competition,” he said. “On varsity, there are stronger, faster guys. You just have to stick to the basics and techniques. We have a lot of guys who aren’t freakishly athletic, but you’ve got to coach them as well as possible.”

On the topic of how Sylvia, Day and Currey think the season will go, they replied with only two words: “State championship.”

Switching sides to Rick Dobson and his South girls’ team, they were hard at work during a Tuesday practice which saw them going through all sorts of drills. The former Parkersburg High girls’ assistant and athletic director welcomes everything the new gig has to offer. These times practicing with his players are no exception.

“Well, the girls are responding well. They’re working really hard,” Dobson said. “It’s been a joy to be around them and to be a part of it.”

While Dobson is certainly enjoying the time he’s had with his new team, there are players from coach Ed Davis’s who are back and ready to carry the load. Players such as Lauren Pelfrey, Erin Williams and 2018-19 Class AAA All-State First-Team member Makenna Winans are senior starters who could lead the charge into this upcoming season. For Winans, she is ready to take that leadership role and everything that comes with it.

“It’s been pretty good. I think everyone is transitioning well to everything,” Winans said of going from coach Davis’s ways to coach Dobson’s. “I really like being a leader to them.”

This year’s South girls’ team is crafting their own mission around hard work and togetherness, and that’s something Dobson hopes will stick with his roster.

“They want to work hard, and I’m pushing them hard. They made a team motto. It all revolves around hard work and discipline, and that’s what we’re giving to them.

Winans shared her thoughts on the team’s fresh attitude going into 2019, as well. It’s an attitude that could could pay big dividends when the games matter the most.

“I think it’s that we just want to grow as a team and play as a team,” she said. “Part of it was to bring the community back, because in years past, we haven’t really had a bunch of community involvement. We’re going to try and get that back this year.

Contact Josh Hughes at jhughes@newsandsentinel.com.

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