Story by Daniel Woods

MARTINSBURG, W.Va – The Musselman boys basketball team found its stride late in the 2022-23 season and head coach Derek Basile hopes to see his team continue that when tipoff comes next week.

The Applemen come off of a regional final appearance and return the majority of that core with eyes set on taking another step forward.

“There was a lot of growing pains at the beginning. Troy (Woolaston)’s injury there in the beginning really stunted that team I think,” he said, “We started 2-7. Then of course, we did make the switch to Colton (Shelton), a little bit of a risk there. He was a freshman but he did a really nice job for us and we really did well at the end and made a nice run at the end and beat some quality teams. We ended on a really good note even though we came up a little short in that regional game.

Seniors Matthew Mahood and Troy Woolaston return to anchor a front court that Basile expects to lead the way as the Applemen intend to utilize a style unique to the EPAC.

“We are an inside-out team. We throw the ball inside. We try to play through our bigs and we have a couple bigs that are pretty good. Where everybody else shoots the three-point shot, I guarantee you we shoot the least three-point shots possibly in the state,” he said.

In the backcourt, sophomore Colton Shelton returns after taking over the starting point guard spot midseason, while seniors Gavin McClain and Logan Shelton round out a group that Basile saw progress with over the course of last season.

“Colton being able to get those guys the ball, our guards being able to hit some shots to keep people honest, that’s really important but those inside touches for us are going to be real important,” he said.

Ahead of the upcoming season, Basile sought to assemble a schedule that will challenge his experienced roster. The Applemen are set to take on several teams that appeared in the state tournament a year ago including Class AAAA runner-up Parkersburg South.

“I think we play a tough schedule every year. This is possibly the toughest schedule we’ve ever played, We feel like in our program that if we get tested during the year it’s going to pay off for the playoffs and the tournament play,” he said.

Musselman boys basketball takes the court for the first time this season on December 6, facing Sherando (Va.).