It was a battle of the cats last season in the playoffs with the Mountain Lions knocking out East Hardy Boys Basketball in the section semifinals, but this season the Cougars are ready to pounce back with a ferocious attack with a sense of renewal and sharpened skills or nails since they are cats.
East Hardy Boys Basketball head coach Chris Hahn returns for his 13th season at the helm with a career record of 94-94 and will be assisted this year by Matt Teets.
The Cougars finished last year with a record of 13-13, but the latter part of the season was where the success was building and the improvements are continuing to be made.
Coach Hahn is excited for this season to see the improvement and making the adjustments to become better as the year progresses.
“I’m excited. I think this team is excited to show everyone the improvement they have made. We will see where our talent is best and try and keep them playing with their strengths,” East Hardy coach Chris Hahn remarked.
“I want to be better when we leave than when we started and win more than we lose.”
East Hardy has three seniors Adam Baker (center), Seth Smith (point guard) and Colten Spaid (shooting guard) preparing the Den for a feeding frenzy.
Baker brings a physical presence as a football player going strong to the hoop to score or grab rebounds with his height, but can shoot from the outside and thwart opponents coming inside.
Baker averaged five rebounds per game last year.
Smith and Spaid are expected to provide assists this year, but remain threats to score with quickness and timing all around the hardwood in addition to smart defensive play creating steals.
A majority of the basketball players are football players, so the physicality for the Cougars will be intimidating.
East Hardy juniors Alex Miller (sg) and Brayden Ritchie (sf) were dynamic on the field and bring that intensity to the court with powerful defense and pouncing to the rim for scoring and rebounds.
Riley Mongold, a junior power forward, has developed a knack for hitting perimeter range shots to compliment his impact in the paint.
Christian Dove, junior point guard, was the quarterback this season for the Cougars, so he knows how to dish out the ball and will be a threat anywhere on the court shooting and has quick hands to steal the ball.
Dove averaged ten points per game last season.
East Hardy junior brothers Andrew and Bryce Tharp, small forwards, create a dynamic tandem on the floor with Andrew’s hustle to score and rebound combined with Bryce’s defensive skills known to induce a charge should pay dividends.
Andrew Tharp averaged five rebounds per game last season.
Denny McDonald, junior shooting guard, gives the Cougars another option on the floor for attacks.
East Hardy sophomore shooting guard Justin Teets was a leader last season in the junior varsity with an all-around shooting finesse and his time on the varsity floor will drastically increase.
East Hardy sophomore pg/sg Josh Hahn knocked down some 3-pointers late in the varsity games and has dedicated time to work on impacting the paint going for rebounds and shots.
Sophomore shooting guards Noah Lang, Jacob Combs and Andrew Hahn provide quickness, plus a wide range of shooting and rebounds skills.
East Hardy freshman power forward/center Dawson Price was a lightning bolt on the football field and that speed translates to the hardwood plus great jumping ability with height that will be a dynamic presence inside.
The Cougars freshmen rounding out the roster with Price are Brandon Parker, Gavin Ritchie, Elijah Schetrom and Austin Wilkins.
East Hardy is preparing for the season opener at Class AA Petersburg on December 12 with a visit to Page County, Va. the following day prior to the home opener against Paw Paw on December 17.
East Hardy hosts the Yellow Jackets on December 21 and visits Moorefield for the regular season finale on February 21.
The Cougars play in the Strasburg Rams Hardwood Classic on December 28 and 30.
East Hardy will participate again in the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament with games in January and February.
The Class A Potomac Valley Conference opponents are