Welcome back to Phil for the Game, your glimpse into the sports community of Boone County.

This week, I’d like to give some love to the Scott High School basketball team. I really feel that things should line up for them to have their best season since the 2011 squad earned a Class AA state runner-up distinction for then-coach Jason Kingrey’s team.

Now, I’m not comparing this squad to that special group of young men but I am saying that I believe there is considerable talent on the roster for first-year coach Shawn Ballard.

As you’ll read in our hoops preview edition, Ballard served as an assistant last season under coach Steve McComas, who resigned after last season after citing the recruitment of high school basketball players from other schools as a primary reason for stepping away.

You can read between those lines in any way that you’d like, but this squad is intact and ready to take on the Cardinal Conference this season.

I had a chance to interview sharp-shooting senior guard Jon Jon Hamilton and senior rugged wing-man Jagger Bell for our preview of the team.

One thing that stood out for me was the confidence that these student-athletes have not just in their own abilities but in their teammates.

The return of trusted ball handler and point guard Gavin Cooper coupled with a player that I consider perhaps the team’s top defender in Caleb Dingess make the Skyhawks a tough match up for any team in the conference.

Hamilton averaged 19.5 ppg, four assists, four rebounds and two steals per game, while leading the county in 3-point shots made with 62.

He made 81% of his free-throw attempts. Jagger Bell averaged 18.7 ppg, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals per game. Bell hit 73% of his free-throw attempts.

On any given night, one of these guys can put the team on their back and carry the load. I believe that this one-two punch is something coaches across the state would find desirable at any class.

Last season, Logan’s Drew Hatfield had a strong first half and David Early was clutch in the second half as Logan defeated Scott 71-61 in Class AA, Region IV, Section 2 semi-final action.

Of course, beyond Logan, Scott has defending Class AA State Champion Chapmanville in its path, who repeated as champions earlier this year.

Scott has a chance to do something really special this season and my hope is that they can seize the moment and play up to their capability.

Unrelated to this, I’m excited to see Sherman hosting the Skyhawks on Dec. 19 in Seth. The Class A Tide also have a first-year head coach in Aaron Pauley who also previously served as an assistant for the team. Sherman will be much improved this season as they return their entire roster from 2018-19.

I encourage you to get out and watch some prep hoops this season. It will certainly be a fun and exciting year in Boone County.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a favorite basketball-related quote:

“These are my new shoes. They’re good shoes. They won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me. That’s it.” — Charles Barkley