WELLSTON — Don’t let last season’s record fool anyone, Wellston was a much improved team and made things uncomfortable for some teams.
Despite getting ousted in its opening tournament game, it pushed Ironton, who made it to a district final to the limit but just ran out of steam.
Now with a reloaded team and a new head coach in Robert Fouty, the Golden Rockets hope to surprise some teams and make some noise in the TVC.
“It’s been a rough couple weeks considering we got shutdown due to COVID, but before then, we were progressing really nicely,” Fouty said. “It helped that a lot of kids came during the summer for workouts and practices. Now that we’re finally back into the gym, it’s a matter off getting back into shape and refreshing everything. but we’re excited to start a new era of Wellston basketball.”
The Golden Rockets move forward this year without multiyear starter Rylan Molihan and Josh Bodey, who led the team in rebounds last season.
However, this new era of basketball does have three returning starters in sophomore Cyan Ervin alongside seniors Hunter Smith and R.J. Kemp.
Ervin was the team’s leading scorer at just under 12 points a night, while Smith earned third team All-District honors last season.
“Those three guys have to take control and be the leaders on both sides of the ball,” Fouty said. “Cyan has put in a ton of work to take his game to another level, while R.J. and Hunter are coming off successful football seasons. They went through the struggles of last year and we’re hoping that experience pays itself off this year.”
However, after that, it’s a little bit up in the air as far as the other two starting spots and other roles are concerned because of not having that practice time.
But still yet, guys like Eston Riley, Gunnar Harmon, Garrett Brown, Jon Garvin and Evan Brown will see a lot of varsity minutes to complete the Wellston attack.
“The communication among the guys have been great and I’m really liking the competitiveness I’m seeing from them,” Fouty said. “Offense is going to be our strong point. We have some really good scorers that we lacked last year who are creative, efficient and really keep the offense moving.”
Usually when a new coach and system take over a program, it takes a few years to see the progress of a team take off.
However, Wellston isn’t waiting for a few seasons to go by. It wants results this year and despite being behind the eight ball a little bit, its pushing to make sure it achieves success this year.
“An efficient offense and a fast, physical defense is what we’re aiming to have this season,” Fouty said. “It’s all about playing sound basketball and limiting the mistakes as much as possible. If we can do that night in and night out, I believe we have a chance to win the conference, a sectional and compete in districts.”
Wellston opens its season on Friday at Huntington in non-conference action.