faces to highlight this year’s Waverly basketball team under the
direction of first-year head coach Travis Robertson. Robertson, a 1994
graduate of Washington Court House, has spent much of the last decade
on the coaching staff at Chillicothe and Waverly, and now takes the top
spot to lead the Tigers in the upcoming season.
“Our main focus at this point is just getting our kids into basketball shape,” said Robertson who is getting a late start with his kids on the hardwood due to the Waverly football’s recent run to the regional semifinals. “I realize it is going to be ugly at times early on, but we need to get the guys up and down the floor. This group really gets along well so chemistry is the easy part. We just have to work hard early in the season to get everybody on the same page.”
Waverly did take a hit in graduation a year ago losing three starters. Justin Hilton and Roy Conley supplied a lot of scoring and rebounding last year, and Waverly also lost its floor general in point guard Cory Williamson. Despite these losses, Waverly still returns a group of talented, athletic players that will be asked to do a little extra for this year’s team.
That talented group is led by Trevor Walls. The senior combines strength and quickness in the paint and on the glass making him an almost automatic double-double in points and rebounds every night out. At 6-6, Walls has always been a tough match-up down low, but over the summer he has added a perimeter game on both ends of the floor that should really make him tough to handle.
“He really worked hard over the summer on expanding his game,” said Coach Robertson of Walls. “He can now do some different things on the offensive end, and he has also improved his ability to sit down and guard the perimeter on defense as well.”
Waverly also returns senior Ramone Conley. The 6-1 off-guard is a phenomenal athlete that can really get end to end in a hurry and is constantly in the passing lanes defensively making it difficult for opponents to start their half court offense.
The Tigers also return a pair of seniors in Mason Good and Trevor Arnett. Good is a 6-3 athletic defender that gives Waverly a lot of versatility on the defensive end. Arnett, who was slowed early in his career by an ACL injury, now seems to be healthy and should give the Tigers a much needed offensive lift from the perimeter.
“We are going to try to be really active on the defensive end,” said Robertson. “We do have great length and we’re extremely athletic, so hopefully we are able to mix things up and really get after it.”
A major key for the Tigers will be the point guard play of Nic Murray. Murray backed-up Williamson a year ago, but will now be asked to step-in and lead the Tiger offense. At 5-7, the senior has had some experience and should bring some leadership to some of the young kids that are sure to make a big splash on the varsity scene.
Waverly will get great depth from athletes like Derek Roback and Ryan Robertson, and perhaps the biggest impact from a newcomer will be freshman Harrison Martin. Fans around the southeast are familiar with the athletic ability of Roback and Robertson in a variety of sports, and Martin at 6-3 has the ability to play all five spots on the floor giving Waverly another ball handler and scorer.
Waverly, a member of the Southern Ohio Conference, is a contender in this year’s league race, but both Wheelersburg and Oak Hill would probably be labeled the early favorites. Despite the late start with basketball practice, Waverly still is scheduled to open with South Webster on November 30th. Another scheduling note is that Waverly will play all of its home games in the downtown gym that is known by many fans around southeast Ohio as one of the top postseason venues for high school tournament action.
“The conference is really strong this season and I feel like most people would say Wheelersburg and Oak Hill are the favorites,” said Robertson. “Wheelersburg returns (Drew) Spradlin and they will reload around him, and Oak Hill has a good group back with some transfers.”
The Tigers, a Division II team in the loaded Southeast District, are also going to be well tested in the non-league. Waverly plays the Scioto Valley Conference and Tri Valley Conference preseason favorites in Huntington and Vinton County, respectively, and the Tigers will also play a loaded Chillicothe team as well as Rock Hill. The Tigers will get a couple of games in over the holiday season as they will host the annual Pike County Holiday Tournament. Waverly will play Western on the first night while Beaver Eastern and Piketon play, and the then the consolation and finals will match-up the first round losers and winners.