CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — It’s a new era this season for the Chapmanville Regional High School girls’ basketball team which brings in new head coach Johnny Williamson.
Williamson replaces outgoing former coach David Williamson, who had led the Lady Tigers to six winning seasons in the last seven years and guided the Lady Tigers to the Class AA state tournament in 2011.
Just like last year, Chapmanville still has a young team, but is looking to improve on the Lady Tigers’ 12-10 record from last year in a season which saw CRHS get bounced from the Class AA sectional tournament by Tolsia, 56-49.
Two senior starters from last year’s team have been lost to graduation in All-Cardinal Conference performers Shian Meeks and NeNe Osborne.
However, several players are back, including First Team All-Conference pick Abby Marcum, Second Team selection Madison Webb and a host of others.
The Lady Tigers rolled over Roane County, 84-42, last week in a preseason game and were set to take on Westside on Monday night in another scrimmage.
Chapmanville gets the regular season under way on Dec. 7 at home against county rival and new Class AA sectional foe Man.
Johnny Williamson, also the CRHS volleyball coach who has led the Lady Tigers to two straight state tournament appearances, hopes to have similar success on the basketball hardwood.
Williamson is no stranger to coaching basketball and was a former assistant boys’ coach at Chapmanville under former coaches Harry Kirk and Allan Hatcher.
“Harry always said that there’s four goals that you have,” Williamson said. “You win your Christmas tournament, you win 15 games, you win your conference and you go to the state tournament. We lost three seniors from last year. We do have some good girls coming back. They had a young team last year but there were several freshmen that got a lot of playing time.”
Williamson is more used to coaching boys but said he has enjoyed leading the girls’ team. He said the Lady Tigers have worked hard in the preseason and has had no hitches.
“Coaching the girls really fits me better,” Williamson said. “When you coach boys they all think they are super stars and you have to coach them down. With the girls its different. You coach them up. I’ve enjoyed coaching volleyball. When the girls’ job came open I really wanted it.”
Marcum, a 5-foot-7 senior small forward, brings court savvy to the Lady Tigers. She can shoot, handle the ball and gives Chapmanville a whole boat load of intangibles.
“Abby Marcum is a good athlete,” Williamson said. “She’s a good ballplayer. Her and Shian Meeks were the leading scorers last year. Having her back is a good thing.”
Chapmanville will also look to another senior — 5-6 shooting guard Lexi Martin — for scoring. Martin is not afraid to launch from 3-point land and when she’s on she can fill it up all night long.
“Lexi Martin is a good shooter,” Williamson said. “She’s working extremely hard for me and we’re pleased with her progress.”
Kara Browning, a softball player and a former basketball standout, is back with the CRHS girls’ hoopsters. Browning, a 5-5 junior guard, is pressing for a starting job.
“Kara Browning didn’t play last year but she’s a really good shooter and she will help,” Williamson said. “She will probably without a doubt be a starter. If she’s not the all-time leading scorer coming from Harts she is very very close. She didn’t play her freshman or sophomore years.”
Taylor Manns, a 5-10 senior forward/center, gives the Lady Tigers punch in the paint as well as experience.
“Taylor Manns played quite a bit last year and she will help us,” Williamson said.
To replace the departed Osborne at point guard, Chapmanville is looking to Olivia Dalton, a 5-10 freshman.
“We’re probably going to have a freshman run the point in Olivia Dalton,” Williamson said. “I know that we’ll have some growing pains with her playing the point. She played it at middle school but most middle school teams play zone defense and she didn’t see much pressure. I don’t think teams will be able to press us very well because we’ve got about eight girls that can handle the ball really well.”
Down low at the forward positions, Chapmanville has a wealth of talent with sophomores Webb and Kaylee Blair. Webb stands 5-11 and Blair 5-10.
“Madison and Kaylee are both very strong and very aggressive,” Williamson said. “If you watch Madison play she reminds you of an older person playing. She has amazing stats with her rebounds. She’s not the fastest and she don’t jump the highest but she’s skilled and she understands the game. She can shoot the ball well enough where she probably could play the three position for us but we use her at the four.”
Coach Williamson said Reese Ellis, a 5-5 sophomore point guard, may also see playing time.
“Reese Ellis is another sophomore who didn’t play much varsity last year,” Williamson said. “But she’s worked on her shooting and ball handling. She’s very fast and aggressive.”
Freshman Ali Williamson, a 5-10 guard, and Hannah Sparks, a 5-4 senior guard, are battling back from injuries and when cleared will only seem to pad Chapmanville’s depth.
“Ali Williamson is coming back from an injury where she tore her ACL last year at Harts Middle School,” Coach Williamson said. “She should be released on January 3rd. She will be a good fit for us to work in. “Hannah Sparks is a senior but she’s had a hurt knee.”
Shae Pridemore, a 5-10 sophomore guard, is also pressing for playing time.
“Shae Pridemore has come a long way,” Williamson said. “I like her progression.”
Rounding out the CRHS roster are: freshman Alexis Toler (5-4); freshman Kaleigh Davis (5-10); freshman Keisha Morgan (5-3); sophomore Brooklyn Evans (5-6); freshman Cameron Dodrill (5-7); and junior Haven Adkins (6-0), who is the tallest player on the squad.
The Lady Tigers may also have Gracie Brumfield, a transfer from Lincoln County High School.
“We’re also waiting to see if Gracie Brumfield gets eligible,” Williamson said. “She’s another girl that came from Harts Middle School. She went to Lincoln County and had planned on playing there but her brother got into a really bad car wreck and he has to be home schooled a while. Hopefully she will be eligible in the second semester on January 3rd.”
CRHS looks to change the defensive scheme and move away from the 2-3 zone which was mostly used last year.
“I don’t know if they have played much man-to-man defense in the past but we’ve been stressing that,” Williamson said. “In girls’ basketball, if you are able to play man to man and play good help side defense you have an advantage over a lot of teams because they do not.”
CRHS will play a very difficult schedule with home-and-home games against Cardinal Conference South Division rivals Logan, Scott, Wayne and Mingo Central and single games against North Division teams Nitro, Winfield, Sissonville, Herbert Hoover and Poca.
Chapmanville has non-conference home-and-homes with Man and Sherman and will take part in the Summers County Holiday Tournament.
In addition, the Lady Tigers are slated to play in early February in the Shootout at the Big House at the Charleston Civic Center and also on Dec. 17 in the Big Ten/Cardinal Conference Shootout at Fairmont.
CRHS also has a single non-conference game against Westside late in the season.
Chapmanville enters a new six-team Class AA sectional tournament with county rivals Logan and Man as well as Mingo Central, Scott and Lincoln County.
Teams will be seeded one through six with the top two teams getting first-round byes.
The gyms at Chapmanville, Logan and Mingo Central will be used and no team will get home court advantage.
So for instance, if Chapmanville plays Logan in the sectional tournament, the game would be played at Mingo Central. If Chapmanville gets Scott it would likely be played at Logan.
“It’s a fair system,” Williamson said. “It will be a tough sectional. Of course, Logan is always very competitive. I don’t know how many seniors some of these schools have lost. Two of our biggest competitors last year were Wayne and Tolsia and Tolsia is Single-A now and Wayne is not in this section any longer. That could be a benefit for us in our sectional.”
2016-17 Chapmanville Regional High School
Girls’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 7: Man, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 9: at Summers County Holiday Tournament, TBA
Dec. 10: at Summers County Holiday Tournament, TBA
Dec. 14: *at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 15: Sherman, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 17: at Fairmont (Big 10/Cardinal Conference Shootout), TBA
Dec. 20: *Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 29: *Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 3: *Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10: *at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13: *at Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 19: *Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24: at Man, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: *Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2: *at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4: *at Logan, 3 p.m.
Feb. 6: vs. TBA (Shootout at the Big House), TBA
Feb. 9: at Sherman, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 11: Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 14: *Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16: *Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
2016-17 Chapmanville Regional
High School Girls’ Basketball Roster
# Pos. Name Gr. Ht.
2 Guard Alexis Toler 9 5-4
3 Guard Kara Browning 11 5-5
3 Point Guard Reese Ellis 10 5-5
5 Guard Olivia Dalton 9 5-10
10 Post Madison Webb 10 5-11
10 Post Kaleigh Davis 9 5-10
11 Guard Keisha Morgan 9 5-3
12 Guard Alexiandria Williamson 9 5-10
13 Guard Lexi Martin 12 5-6
15 Guard Barbara Pridemore 10 5-10
20 Wing/Post Abby Marcum 12 5-7
21 Guard Hannah Sparks 12 5-4
22 Wing Brooklyn Evans 10 5-6
23 Post Taylor Manns 12 5-10
24 Post Kaylee Blair 10 5-10
30 Post Cameron Dodrill 9 5-7
53 Center Haven Adkins 11 6-0