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From My View For Jan. 17

By Staff | Jan 17, 2018

With the weather playing havoc with high school sports, there hasn’t been a lot of local sporting events to cover.

Because of the weather, our local schools have had many two-hour delays or cancellations. I know it hurts most of the kids’ feelings that they cannot go to school, and must find other things to do.

In comes Danny Westfall to the rescue. He and wife, Cathy, have done a great service for our youth. They flood the New Martinsville Marina in certain areas to make it safe for kids to skate and sled.

The Westfalls make sure the ice is frozen enough for the kids to safely ice skate. So, not only are the local youth having fun, but the Westfalls are ensuring the kids are having safe fun.

Danny has secured several difference sizes of skates for the kids to wear, in-case they might not own a pair. There is also other different equipment, such as for playing hockey. There is even a sledding area set aside.

Businesses have also donated to the cause. Bridgeport Equipment has allowed the use of a light plant. Other businesses and residents have donated hot chocolate. Litman Enterprises has allowed the use of a portable restroom.

The ice rink is a nice service to people, and it’s been used quite often. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Westfall.

**

You know I have been over and across the river to watch the River Pilots play basketball, and I’ve observed things I hope we can bring to people’s attention.

The Pilot boys’ basketball team is undefeated after nine games, and it is playing, not just five or six during a game, but they play eight, nine, or even 10 players or more most games. Not just at the end of games, but in most games they play. It’s a lot like the West Virginia Mountaineers, or I mean Press Virginia. Coach Bob Huggins has been very successful in doing this the last few years.

River coach Mark Romick has instilled the same kind of philosophy. He has one of the top area guards in the country in Lukas Isaly. He is a lot like the Mountaineers Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jevon Carter. Isaly plays a very tough defense and gets his share of steals and assists from his play too.

I don’t like to go that route, but it is just awesome the way the Pilots and the Mountaineers have so much in common.

Enough of that. What I am saying is that Lukas Isaly is a complete basketball player. Of course he scores a lot of points, but he also pulls down a lot of offensive and defensive rebounds too. He always has at least three or four steals a game, along with many, many assists. He is what we call a team player. Just ask his teammates. He does it all and doesn’t want the spotlight. He wants his teammates involved, and if he needs to, will give you what ever he can every game.

Why am I saying this now? I have been saying this since his freshman season. He is getting close to being the River High School’s all-time scoring leader, a title that my good friend Mitch Miracle has held since the mid 70s.

Mitch is one of my best friends, as was Randy Ensinger, when I attended River. Mitch worked at his shooting 24/7, day in and day out. He shot every morning and every evening while making 100 shots. He built his arm strength by playing table tennis and lifting a coffee can filled with marbles every day.

If you haven’t seen Lukas play, you better. Dads, if you have young boys wanting to play basketball, find out where the Pilots are playing. Take your boys to a game.

Now, what I’m going to say next isn’t as nice. That gym across the river isn’t being filled to the capacity. I know there are loads of things going on, but come-on-man, let’s get real. You don’t get a guy like Lukas very often. Let’s fill the R.L. Potts Gymnasium to full capacity. I have seen it when Mitch played in the 70s, so let’s get the gym paced every home game. River has one of the best high school basketball gymnasiums in the Ohio Valley, with plenty of parking spaces.

River’s cheerleaders are doing a great job keeping the fans involved with their cheers, but let’s get the home side filled, before we go on the visitors’ side. The girls don’t have anybody on the Pilots’ side to help cheer with. Or at least the kids that are still in school.

I root for all my teams that I cover, and when they play each other, I either stay on one side and catch both sides or go to one side in the first quarter and the other in the second.

**

I had someone come and ask me if I would coach girls’ soccer again in the future, and I said I don’t think so. I had a bad leave and don’t care to do that again, even if they have changed the law about non-teachers coaching. I really do miss coaching the girls soccer team, but I have let my coaching license expire, and don’t want to go through that again. But, I was honored and proud to have the girls ask me to come back; it felt good.

**

It looks like the spring sports season is starting to prep for the upcoming season, and I hope that the coaches will do as good a job as the winter sports coaches into getting me stats to write their teams games. As a softball umpire, we started having meetings this month. I still haven’t decided if I want to umpire again. I will go to the first couple meetings before making my decision. And if I don’t, I have had a blast umping, here and around the area, from Ripley to Cameron – not only when they don’t have the guys to fill it.

The players are great, and the coaches are not so bad either. But, if I do, I will continue for coaches to send me in stats, and for fans to send me a picture of their games – baseball and softball. In track, I try to take Tuesday off to cover it, and the same will go to the MHS archery team.

I would love it, if it’s possible, that this year’s track season really have a Wetzel, Tyler Track League, and have meets at both places, not just at TCHS. At least try to have at least one meet at Magnolia. Please with a capital “P.”

I don’t want to hear that there isn’t enough lighting at Magnolia. They have had meets in the past. Don’t tell me there is no seating for spectators too. Again, I say, we had them before.

I hope the powers-that-be please give this long-time sports writer – that helped raise a lot of funds for the MHS track – a track meet at MHS.