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Injuries taking early toll

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

The high school basketball season isn't two weeks old, yet the season has already claimed two area standouts.

Of course the latest casualty is Notre Dame's Nick Carbacio, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and is likely shelved for the entire season. The 6-foot-3 shooting guard was averaging 33.5 points prior to his injury.

However, Doddridge County took a severe blow when its shooting guard, senior Ben McKinney, suffered a fracture of his left orbital socket in a win last week against Paden City.

McKinney averaged 10.8 points last season for the Bulldogs, who advanced to the Class A semifinals.

"I had a kid boxed out and then he jumped," McKinney said. "On his way down, I jumped for the rebound, and we just got crossed somewhere in between. His elbow caught me in the eye.

"At first I just thought I got poked. I've had elbows before, but then I couldn't open (my eye) or even move it around. That's when I knew something was wrong."

Three days later, McKinney had surgery and had a titanium plate inserted in his eye socket. It will be four more weeks before he is permitted to run or have any other physical activity. For now, McKinney is restricted to free throws and jump shooting on his own.

McKinney also has been his football team's starting quarterback for the past three seasons and a starter on the baseball team.

"This is new for me," McKinney said. "I'm not used to just sitting. It's been pretty tough having to just watch, but hopefully, in another week or two, I can start doing a little more."

n The holiday season will be busy for several local high school teams.

At Lincoln, the Cougars will be hosting the Lincoln-McDonald's Holiday Tournament. Lincoln, Grafton, Clay-Battelle and South Harrison will make up the boys division, while Bridgeport, Grafton, Lincoln and South Harrison will compete in the girls class. The tournament begins Thursday.

Robert C. Byrd's boys team will be competing in the Big "D" Holiday Tournament, hosted by Fairmont Senior, Thursday through Saturday. The Eagles and Polar Bears will be joined by George Washington, Huntington, Hurricane, North Marion, Preston and St. John's Prospect Hall (Md.).

Philip Barbour's boys team will head to Beckley for the WJLS Holiday Tournament, which features Woodrow Wilson and defending Class AAA champ Capital. At Doddridge County, the girls will be hosting the Kermit Vanscoy Invitational, while the boys team will be competing in the Ritchie County Holiday Tournament.

Bridgeport's boys team will travel to Follansbee on Thursday for the Brooke Holiday Tournament, while Lewis County's boys will take part in the Elkins Holiday Tournament and the girls in the Nicholas County Christmas Tournament.

n With the loss of four starters, Bridgeport's boys team was faced with replacing nearly all its offense.

Following the Indians' 111-47 win over Lewis County, Bridgeport is 2-1 with its lone loss coming to Class AAA Morgantown. Vince Veltri, who started the last two games in 1999-00, is averaging 21.7 points, while Tyler Dodd (13.7 ppg.) and Chris Liebig (11.0) have also picked up their offense. Sophomore Brandon Brumage has given Bridgeport a lift off the bench, averaging 8.7 points.

n Lewis County's Pat Morrison leads the Big 10 with 10 3-pointers, but Lincoln has a team-best 20 3s on the season. Liberty has made just four shots from behind the 3-point line.

n Grafton's Dan Mewshaw has hit eight of nine free throw attempts for the Bearcats, who lead the Big 10 in free throw percentage at 77.1 percent (27 for 35). However, the conference has combined to shoot just 60.6 percent. Robert C. Byrd has shot a conference worst, 41.4 percent (12 for 29).

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com.

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