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Instant turnaround?

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

Lewis County boys basketball coach Brett Vincent knows one week and two games do not make a season. He does know, however, the value those games could have for a program like the Minutemen's.

In that span, Vincent has been able to accomplish what it took an entire season and 22 games to do last year -- win two games.

"These kids have worked hard," Vincent said. "I'm glad for them to get a couple of wins to get confidence and get some excitement generated, but we know it's still early and every game is going to be extremely difficult for us."

The Minutemen opened with victories over Grafton and rival Buckhannon-Upshur.

The former Alderson-Broaddus coach was appointed just more than a month ago to the job following the resignation of Andy Sorine. Vincent said he and the team are "still feeling each other out" and still learning what everyone can do.

Through two games, though, it's obvious what Vincent has emphasized. In the Minutemen's first two games last season, they gave up 71.0 points per game compared to just 37.5 ppg. in their first two games this season.

"(Defense) is what we've tried to stress and we have stressed it," Vincent said. "We wanted to emphasize everything with them, but especially the defense."

Juniors Kevin Butcher (13.5 ppg.) and Jordan Parker (11.5 ppg.) led the team in scoring last week, but Vincent said he expects to see the same balance the team has shown early to be a trend this season.

"We did a pretty decent job last week, but we still need to improve," he said. "To be honest, I think we played a little better than what I thought we would've.

"Like I said, it's still early and we've got some tough games, but it was good for the kids' confidence to get a couple of wins."

This week, Lewis County plays host to Liberty Wednesday and visits Bridgeport on Friday.

n FRESHMEN OF INFLUENCE: It's hard not to notice the impact a handful of freshmen have had on the varsity level this season.

On the boys scene, Robert C. Byrd guard Migel Lockett has not disappointed in two games after a phenomenal season in middle school. The freshman guard is averaging 10.5 points off the bench for the Eagles and leads the team with five 3-point field goals. Most notable was his two free throws in the final seconds which gave Robert C. Byrd a 63-61 victory over Bridgeport.

"I don't look at (Lockett) as a typical 14-year-old freshman," Indians' coach Gene Randolph said following the team's loss to Robert C. Byrd. "He's a special athlete, and I've watched him come up the ranks. (Robert C. Byrd) was in good shape with the ball in his hands at that juncture."

Notre Dame's boys team has slowly worked guard James Douglas (3.7 ppg.) into its rotation, and coach Mark Starkey says he'll likely begin to see more time as the season progresses.

For Bridgeport's girls team, Meredith Legg (9.2 ppg.) has been coach Dave Marshall's biggest offensive weapon in the backcourt so far this season, while Notre Dame's Mallory Menendez scored 61 points in the team's first two games last week.

n BIG 10'S BEST: Lincoln guard Wes Osbourn averaged 17 points last week for the Cougars (1-1), while Robert C. Byrd point guard Bobby Buffey averaged 14.5 points, 6.0 assists and 3.5 steals for the Eagles (1-1). Bridgeport (1-1) center Tim Lindsey scored 12.0 ppg. and grabbed 8.0 rebounds per game, while teammate Tyler Dodd (15.0 ppg.) led the Indians in scoring. A leader in the frontcourt has been Robert C. Byrd's Michael Defazio (16.5 ppg.).

On the girls side, Grafton's Brandi Patton and Janel O'Brien scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, in a win over Clay-Battelle. Bridgeport's Theresa Melko (16.5 ppg.) and Meredith Legg (12.5 ppg.) led the Indians in scoring in two victories, while Liberty's Katy Orndorff averaged 13.5 points in two games.

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

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