CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The Robert C. Byrd boys basketball team was forced to put a halt to its 22 game win streak last season after the COVID-19 pandemic shut high school sports down.
The Eagles won a sectional title and were ready to compete in their regional game when the basketball season was halted immediately.
Head coach Bill Bennett said his crew is ready to pick up right where they left off.
“I think what they’ve done kind of speaks for itself. I always tell them what you’ve done in the past doesn’t really mean anything though but they’re a motivated group and a talented group and they’ve worked and they’re focused on what they want to accomplish this season,” Bennett said.
Luckily for Byrd, they return every member of that squad except second team All-State and 1,000 point scorer Khori Miles.
“Instead of one guy taking his place, everybody just elevates their game a little bit more everybody’s role changes just a little bit with this season coming around,” Bennett said.
But Bennett is confident in who he is returning. With Blake Meighen, Jeremiah King, Tommy Hawkins and top scorers in sharp shooter Gavin Kennedy and first team All-State forward and Big 10 player of the year Bryson Lucas.
Byrd has all of the weapons they need.
“They’re scorers but we’re confident in Tommy Hawkins and Blake Meighen too, there’s not a ton of kids around that can score the way they can. We’ve just always been able, we’ve had so many players that we’re able to be very balanced and so I think any of those guys could be our leading scorer on any given night. But yeah, it feels good to know that you’ve got guys that have the experience of seeing the ball go through the basket in varsity games,” Bennett said.
The team is deep on the bench as well with multiple players who have varsity minutes.
Byrd football QB1 Xavier Lopez is returning to the hardwood for his senior campaign as well after not playing since his freshman season.
While certainly the Fighting Eagles know how to win, Bennett’s main focus is being the best his team can be.
“I very rarely talk about winning. We just talk about daily improvement. In 2014, with that undefeated team even, we never mentioned that we won 10 in a row and last year we didn’t. We just kept saying regardless of what we’ve done, let’s get better, let’s make sure we’re better tomorrow at 5:30 then we were today at 5:30,” Bennett said.
RCB starts with a clean slate in Class Triple-A with its first game on March 6 at Philip Barbour.