HAMBLETON, W.Va. – We continue our previews of select area high school winter sports teams by taking a look at the Tucker County girls basketball team, which is looking to make another run in class Single-A this season.
The Mountain Lions have quietly been one of the most consistently successful programs in the state over the years, especially in Class A. Tucker County has made it to the state tournament each of the last 16 seasons, including last year with a very young team.
“These older girls, their goal is to play for a state championship,” said head coach David Helmick. “I mean, their not content with just getting to Charleston. What we always say here is get their picture on the wall, which means state runner-up or state championship, you’re going to get your picture on the wall here at Tucker County High School, and these girls are always striving for that.”
Helmick returns most of last year’s squad, and adds to it a group of freshmen players that he feels can have a big impact over the next four years.
“There’s a couple freshmen that are pushing to get some time on this team. It’s a pretty talented freshmen group,” said Helmick. “There’s 11 (freshmen), and it’s probably one of the best eleven freshmen we’ve had here in quite some time, as a group. Normally you have two or three good ones, but it’s a good group. There’s a lot of good, talented freshmen coming in.”
On the other side of that, it’s never easy replacing an all-state player like Terra Kuhn, who was a second-team all-state player last year as a senior, but Helmick feels he has the players to do so.
“We’ve got a good core nucleus back,” said the head coach. “My point guard, London Hood, is back. She’s only a junior. She’s a good leader for us. Got a senior in Gracie Rapp back. And Katie Colebank started for me last year as a freshman. (She’s a) six foot center, she’s back.”
Helmick says he’s hoping his team will be able to play a little faster this season, while also taking advantage of some of its size inside.
That’s while possibly still installing some of their sets as the year goes on due to the short preseason.
The Mountain Lions begin their quest to get their picture on the wall on March 3 against Pendleton County.