The start of the Mountain Valley Conference high school basketball season is just two weeks off. Wolverine fans will have their first chance to see the boys’ varsity team at the annual Thanksgiving weekend Alumni Game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30.
Coach Jamie Jones returns this season with 15 players anchored by three seniors, Billy Pinkham, Josh Jones and Noah Haggett. Pinkham led the Wolverines in three-point baskets a year ago and will run the offense. Josh Jones is coming off a stellar soccer season, having recently been named an MVC Academic All-Star.
Haggett, one of three players over six feet, will see a lot of action under the backboards. He’s returning to basketball after sitting out last season.
Other returnees include juniors Brett Osmond, one of the Wolverines’ better ballhandlers and outside shooters last season. There’s also Marshall Weeks, whose rebounding skills will be a plus. Matt Eckert, another returnee, shoots well from the perimeter and could lead the team in assists this season.
The other upper classmen are juniors Aidan Foley, Casey Mills and Kyle Ricker; sophomores include Gavin Loupe and Dillion Leeman. Freshmen Ricky York, Kyle Ricker, Johnny Spies and Brady Nichols complete the roster.
“The good thing is unlike last season, we will have had almost three full weeks of practice and played four scrimmage games before the start of the regular season,” added Coach Jones. He took over the program last year, when the team won just one game, the home opener against Carrabec. A former Wolverine, Jones has a strong passion for the game and enjoys sharing his knowledge and skills with his players. The team is working hard on the basics: Passing, shooting, playing better defense, setting screens and most importantly playing together as a unit.
“There’s no question, we’ve got a long ways to go. Six of our guys are playing basketball for the first time. We’ll take it one game at a time and hopefully continue to improve as the season moves along,” he said.
The Wolverines will be well traveled over the next week, having played scrimmage games against high schools in Searsport, Waterville and Bingham.
Like the WMHS girls’ team, the boys are foregoing a jayvee team this season. The plan for now is to add a few jayvee games during the regular season. The Wolverines might also take part in a jayvee tournament, or even host one.
The Wolverine boys will be tested early. They’ll open the regular season against the Seahawks at Boothbay Region High School at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. The home opener follows on Monday, Dec. 9 versus Mt. Abram. It won’t be an easy season. WMHS is once again competing in the class C South and will play an 18-game schedule against bigger, more experienced ballteams.