RAVENSWOOD – Even though he’s hit the age of 60, Mick Price still looks and feels relatively young.
It’s a good thing.
Because this season Price will field a very young boys basketball team at Ravenswood High School.
“This may be my youngest in 35 years,” said Price, who is coming off his first season as the school’s head football coach.
With youth comes inexperience. Only Jake Martin, a junior guard, garnered varsity playing time last season on a team that finished 13-12 and lost a two-point heartbreaker in a Class AA co-regional final against Magnolia.
Martin became a starter late in the 2011-12 campaign. He averaged 3.8 points per game. “He’s very diverse,” said Price. “He can put it on the floor, he can get to the rim, he can shoot from the perimeter. He’s got experience and we have to rely on that.”
Last season Martin also averaged 3.8 rebounds a game and dished out 1.9 assists per contest. Martin hit 39 percent of his shots from the 3-point line.
Ravenswood was hit hard by graduation, losing the likes of Zack Martin, Ben Pannell, Jeremy Lawrence, Jon Scheifer, Jesse Mize and James Carmichael.
Martin, Pannell and Lawrence all scored in double figures last season. Martin was a Class AA Second Team All-State selection while Pannell, now a part of the program at West Virginia State, and Lawrence earned Honorable Mention. Martin and Pannell were Little Kanawha Conference First Team selections with Lawrence earning Second Team honors.
The lone senior on this season’s team will be Jeremy Balser, a 5-8 guard. Balser’s high school basketball career has been slowed due to a four-wheeler accident a few years ago.”
Junior Dalton Gandee, 5-7, will handle the point guard duties. “He’s doing a good job. This will be a big test for him,” Price said.
Heath Burgess, a 5-8 junior who was Ravenswood’s starting quarterback in the recently-completed 2012 season, will see lots of playing time. “He’s very athletic and he’s going to have to play,” said Price.
Another junior is Cam Maeige, who is listed at 6-0.
Sophomores are 6-1 Dylan Radabaugh, 6-4 Isaac Crow, 5-8 Jon Crow, 5-10 Jacob Barr, 6-4 Jeremy Butler and 5-9 Matt Peery.
The freshmen class is made up of 6-0 Logan Jarrett, 6-0 Travis Rawson, 5-6 Zack Miller, 5-7 Jonathan Watkins, 5-11 Adam Scritchfield and 5-7 Ethan Mullen.
“I will say this about these guys. They have been enthusiastic and have developed a chemistry,” Price said. “These kids are really working hard in practice.
Because of the youth and inexperience, Price plans to use several players initially.
“I’ve never played a bunch of kids. It’s just something I haven’t done. I’ve never worried about how much time a kid has played,” he said. “But on this year’s team that has a lot of players of equal ability, we’re going to have to play more kids.”
“We are going to go up against teams with experience,” said Price. “They are going to have to hang in there.”
The Little Kanawha Conference North Division will feature an array of good teams, according to Price. “Ritchie may have one of its best teams ever,” he said. “Parkersburg Catholic will be good again. St. Marys will be good again. Obviously Williamstown is a tough one. Tyler and Doddridge will be better.”
Ravenswood, which went 8-4 last season in conference play, will open the season at home on December 14 against Roane County. The Devil schedule this season also features a pair of games with Class AAA foes Ripley and Point Pleasant, two with Herbert Hoover and a one-time encounter with Webster.
The Red Devils will be in a new-look Class AA sectional when the calender rolls into March of 2013. Webster, Braxton, Roane and Ritchie will join the Devils and battle for spots in regional play. The region opposite Ravenswood’s will have North Marion, East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior, Weir and Oak Glen.
“We’ve tried to indoctrinate these kids into what is going to happen at the varsity level and the speed of the game. These guys have played a lot (in the summer and fall),” said Price. “It’s their turn to step up.”