There is a new sheriff in town this season in boys' basketball at Hundred High School. First-year Head Coach Brian Bartlett steps in and will try to turn around a boys' program that has had several different head coaches since Justin Balwanz nearly had the Hornets in the state tournament back in 2009.
Bartlett isn't a novice to the game. He has been the Hornets' junior varsity coach for awhile and has varsity coaching experience in girls' softball. His experience as a varsity referee will help him teach his players the correct way to play the game.
With starters like Chris Varner, Rusty Morris, and Kirk Shriver who graduated last year, Bartlett steps into the fire with only one senior and one junior returning to the squad. He will need to utilize nine underclassmen, including three freshmen, to mesh his cagers into a well-oiled machine.
With the loss of those three players, and a couple starters that didn't come out this year, Bartlett welcomes back several new faces he coached on the junior varsity squad, including his lone senior, Ethan Umstead. Umstead saw some varsity action last season, but Bartlett will need to rely on him and a handful of other underclassmen if he wants to have any success this season.
"Umstead will see the floor this season. He works hard on his game and his positive attitude definitely is a good example coming into this year," said Bartlett.
Other members of the squad are junior Hunter Goddard; sophomores Holden Moore, Joe Mars, Greg Jones, Logan Moore, and Danny Kolat; and freshmen Danny Stewart, Derek Crihfield, and Devon Kimble. They will need to pick up the scoring and defensive effort when they get in.
"We don't have much height, so we probably won't be able to go with the traditional positions," Bartlett observed. "But we do have a nice mesh of underclassmen that we hope we can develop for the future with experience and repetitions. The more games these kids get, the more well versed they will be as juniors and seniors.
"The nice thing about this group is they value and treasure practice. They understand that if they come in every day, not just to shoot, they will get better at defense or offense. They come in wanting to win basketball games. That mentality makes it fun to be around. It looks to me that they enjoy what it takes to turn this thing around," said Bartlett.
It looks like the Hornets will take their knotts, but knowing that they can work on their game every day and get better, they can be the ones that can turn the Hornets into winners. They will be winners not only on the floor, but in their hearts as well. That will make it sweet at the end of the season.
Helping Bartlett on the sidelines is veteran Assistant Coach Terry Metz, who has 28 years experience in coaching basketball.
Hundred opened its season against the Paden City Wildcats Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. inside the Hornet Nest. Results were not available before press time.