One thing is certain when it comes to Winchester boys basketball — the Falcons are going to work hard.
Coach Rick Owens has another hard-working crew as he enters his fourth season leading the Falcons, and he has high hopes for a program steeped in tradition.
“The kids, they grew up wanting to be Falcon basketball players,” Owens said of a program that’s been to three Class 2A state finals. “They understand it. They understand that they have to give the effort.”
Owens expects that effort, along with leadership, from a senior class that includes Jordan Mills, Isaiah Davis, Brandon Edwards and Matt Thornburg.
Juniors Jacob Gant, Jordan Yaryan, Tristen Henchon and Alan Brutchen also are expected to contribute, as are sophomore Kiante Enis and freshman Eli Gates.
“They have some experience,” Owens said. “We have a good group of seniors. I’ve always really liked that class. I think those are going to be some of the strengths.”
Owens said Davis injured his ACL in the summer, but is expected back in December or January.
Enis led the Falcons in scoring (11.4 points per game) and rebounding (6.3) last season. Winchester finished 11-10 last season, but the Falcons went on a six-game winning streak heading into the sectional.
The Falcons were also 5-2 in the Tri-Eastern Conference and tied for second with Union County.
Hagerstown won the conference at 6-1.
Owens expects another competitive season in the TEC.
“There are a lot of good teams,” he said. “Top to bottom, it’s going to be very balanced. You better bring your ‘A’ game.”
Winchester opens Friday at home with county foe Randolph Southern, then has a pair of road games at Muncie South (Dec. 3) and at Wapahani (Dec. 6).
The Falcons open TEC play Dec. 13 at Winchester Fieldhouse against Union City.
Ball handling and rebounding will be crucial for the Falcons.
“We’ve got to work on taking care of the basketball,” Owens said.
“The pieces are there to put together. I think, as we find each other and what we can do, we can have a pretty good year. … I’m just excited for the season and hopefully we’ll have a good year. I know one thing, we’re going to have a lot of fun.”