BECKLEY - Very rarely does a summer tell the true tale when looking ahead to the winter and basketball.
The variables are many. Often it boils down to not enough players during the summer, practice for other sports, player allegiance to an AAU team or simply summer vacation with the family.
Wyoming East was in that boat for a lot of the three-week summer practice window. Players were on vacation, players were practicing for other sports, all the usual suspects of the summer.
It likely served a purpose that will pay bigger dividends down the road, with many bench players and even freshmen getting more playing time than they normally would for a team returning a bulk of its talent and of whom much is expected this winter.
And, the kids were all right, posting some impressive wins in the Graham and Beckley Summer Leagues. Tanner Whitten, a rising sophomore who was a junior varsity player last season, along with three incoming freshman - Chandler Johnson, Garrett Mitchell and Jacob Howard - had moments during the summer when they assumed the scoring load. All led the team in scoring in multiple games over the summer.
And when the returning starters, well, returned, as they did last week for the Beckley Summer League tournament, the team showed exactly how strong it could be, advancing to Tuesday night's championship against Woodrow Wilson.
The Warriors took out Van on Wednesday, July 10, 85-47. Dressing 10 for the first time since the early part of the summer, everyone scored for the Warriors, led by 19 from returning starter Chris York. Whitten added 16 and another starter, Anthony Martin, had 10.
Four players had eight points - Logan Miller, returning to hoops after a year off; second-team all-state performer McQuade Canada; Howard, and starter Jacob Bishop. Tucker Cook had three and Mitchell one.
On Thursday, in the semis, the Warriors beat Section 2 opponent Shady Spring 64-55.
Shady Spring was experiencing a little of the problems Wyoming East faced with second-team all-stater Tommy Williams and role player Erick Bevil on vacation.
Shady Spring has a much deeper team than years past and Wyoming East beat the Tigers 64-55. It was the returning players who got a bulk of the time, and did a bulk of the scoring, led by Canada, who had 20 points.
Bishop added 12 and Martin had 10. Whitten had nine, Chase York and Logan Miller five and Matt Caldwell three.
Greyson Shepherd led the way for Shady with 20 points.
Results of the Tuesday championship were not available at deadline but will be posted next week.
In the junior varsity portion of the tournament, Wyoming East was eliminated by Woodrow Wilson, 60-58 in overtime.
Garrett Mitchell had 22 points to lead Wyoming East. Jacob Howard had 15 and Chandler Johnson 10. Michael Cadle had 17 for Woodrow Wilson.
Wyoming East beat Van in the junior varsity tournament Tuesday, July 9.
Tanner Whitten had 17 to lead the Warriors, followed by Chandler Johnson with 14, Garrett Mitchell with 13 and Jacob Howard with 12.