ALBRIGHT: Sophie Nelson and Ritchie County girls’ basketball are a good match

Sophie Nelson’s overjoyed to be a member of the Ritchie County girls’ basketball team. Good.

Good, because she’s often going to be playing in front of her aunt Missy Spangler (aka the school’s all-time leading scorer). So, there’s no pressure or anything waiting for Nelson. Instead, there’s just a local celebrity taking in the games from the stands at many home and away games – how bad can it be?

Good, because she’s also going to be playing in front of her grandfather Terry Spangler, who happens to be among the most successful coaches in the history of the school. So yeah … no pressure or anything times two.

Good, because she’s excited for the chance to play in front of her two relatives.

Good, because she needs to be calm, cool, focused and collected in order to break some of her aunt’s records.

Good, because all the basketball knowledge she accumulated after two years of observation and study under Parkersburg High coaches Scott Cozzens and Phil Wilson is about to be put to good use. Ball screens. Defense. Shooting. Everything. Nothing’s going to go untapped in Dave McCullough’s schemes. Everything is fair game.

Good, because the relationship established between her new teammate Rebekah Rupert and herself during summer workouts with trainer Jordan Thornhill can realize its full potential. Thanks to the pair working well together in sessions, it shouldn’t take long for a transition over to the varsity court. Once they get the feeling down, they should be off and running.

Good, because Ritchie County takes a step up in competition after its move to Class AA. Teams are tougher, games are tougher and when the state tournament comes around her experience playing for the AAU West Virginia Thunder is going to help everyone.

Good, because this Rebel team has a chance to get to that state tournament, and her addition raises those odds a little higher.

Good, because the Rebels could use extra help to chase down veteran groups St. Marys and Parkersburg Catholic in the Little Kanawha Conference West. Neither team lacks talent.

Good, because facing down, night in and night out, the likes of Leslie Huffman, Aaliyah Brunny, Kylie Wright, Lara Fetty, Emma Wyer, Jayla Wiseman or Nicole Reynolds isn’t for the faint of heart.

Good, because the Rebels also could use extra help to chase down veteran groups St. Marys and Magnolia in the new Class AA Region I, Section 1.

Good, because that same Magnolia team likely can put three girls above six-feet on the court at any given time. And Nelson’s length certainly comes in handy for Rebel head coach Dave McCullough as he tries to combat that conundrum.

Good, because her length combined with what else McCullough has coming back creates a headache for other teams in itself.

Good, because if she didn’t want to be in Ellenboro, she may have a bad time.

Good, because it would be hard to imagine all the hard work she put in returning from a back injury, suffered before her freshman year, be all for not.

Good, because I can’t remember the last time Ritchie County got two players on the Rebel classifications’ top two all-state teams.

Good, because Ritchie County can likely say they have two girls on the All-LKC first-team at the end of the season.

Good, because everything’s going to be go, go, go from the moment teams hit the floor for real games, so there isn’t going to be a second for anyone to lose.

Good, because McCullough is happy to have her on the team.

Good, because you know what kind of a match the team and her make?

They make a good one.

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.


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