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BENNETT: Beauty of basketball

Many things are interesting.

For instance, off the top of my head I could pick a plethora.

The simplicity of basketball is honestly my favorite.

There is just one ball and 10 players.

The sole goal of said game is to have one more point than your opponent when time expires.

Anyone who attempted to fill out an NCAA bracket correctly and had the likes of Ohio State, West Virginia and the ilk moving on are most definitely not in the 99%-tile of their competition.

Speaking of competition, although I covered a lot of games this past winter in Ohio it’s exciting to be back covering more contests on the hardwood in the Mountain State.

One thing I haven’t liked is having to do four Associated Press boys basketball polls each week, but that’s where we are currently at.

The Tyler Consolidated boys’ team of head coach Steven Nutter currently sport a 6-2 record and are ranked No. 11 in Class A.

I was able to watch the Silver Knights for the first time on Tuesday at Parkersburg Catholic and came away pretty impressed, especially with junior Caleb Strode and senior Justin Bowman.

Strode has burst onto the scene this year and coach Nutter noted “he’s lost about 15 pounds, got stronger. COVID hurt a lot of people. It really helped him. He found the courts outside. We couldn’t get anywhere inside in Tyler County.

“The Sistersville gym was locked up. The Middlebourne gym was locked up. He got in the weight room. He got stronger. He was putting up shots outside and was working on moves, but his mentality has changed.”

Indeed, that appeared to be the case, at least from my perspective.

“He knows he has to be the alpha, him and Bowman,” Nutter continued. “Him and Bowman are both the alphas. They are playing off each other and he’s really undersized for his position as well. He’s averaging about 12 boards a game. He sees the ball really well off the rim and just goes and gets it. He was a guard in middle school so a lot of the skills he has carried over. He and Bowman have worked their tails off and put themselves in a position where they can lead this team.

“Bowman has been really unselfish. He hasn’t been worried about scoring. He’s averaging about seven and a half assists a game, which is about six more than he averaged last year. A lot of teams know how good Bowman is and they are attacking him and he’s really doing a nice job of finding the open guy and being unselfish. He just cares about team wins so it’s nice to see that from a senior who could just be looking to fill up the point column.”

Of course, two players don’t make a team and the Silver Knights will need to be clicking on all cylinders when Class AA No. 6 Ravenswood invades tonight.

“The way we play we are going to have to get to seven or eight (deep),” added the coach. “We’re going to have to get them in there and get them some minutes when we can. The (Trey) Landis kid has been playing awesome for us as well and he’s been in foul trouble a few games.

“We got two small guards, Haygen Baker and Connor Bailey who have really stepped up. Haygen is shooting the ball really good. Connor is taking control of the basketball. Right now, he’s a three-to-one ratio for (assists to) turnovers for a sophomore point guard against, again, really tough pressure in the LKC and we are proud of him.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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