WELLSBURG-Win or lose this season, the Brooke High School boys' basketball team is going to Disney World.
In announcing his team's schedule, Coach Dave Reitter pointed out the Bruins' coaches and players will be heading to Orlando, Fla., during the Christmas Break to participate in a three-day holiday tournament.
''We fly out on the 27th of December and, along with playing in the KSA Tournament, our kids and coaches will get to see a Miami Heat-Orlando Magic game,'' Reitter said.
''I think this is a nice reward for the kids who have worked really hard in our program. Everybody is looking forward to spending this time together. Money for our trip was raised by the players' parents and the boosters.''
Reitter believes the upcoming season can provide another step forward for a Bruins program that has been struggling in recent years.
''We will be more competitive," he said. ''While we didn't finish above .500, we bring back a nice nucleus from a team that had a 10-12 record.''
It's been a long way back for the Bruins, once of the valley's premier high school basketball programs. The veteran Reitter coached the Brooke County school to a West Virginia Class AAA state championship in 1987 and the Bruins made one other appearance in the 3A title game.
Reitter, back for his second tenure on the Brooke hoop bench after several years at the football helm, picked up his 300th career basketball coaching victory last season.
Three seniors graduated that squad, including second team All-Valley standout Nick Breen, the Bruins' leading scorer and rebounder. Also an all-state catcher, Breen is continuing his academic and athletic career playing baseball at Fairmont State University.
Also picking up diplomas last May were guard Vinny Pizzuti and Brian Gialluco. Pizzuti is attending Notre Dame as a student.
Among the list of key players returning to the Brooke roster are seniors Eric Johnson (6-2), Hunter Wallace (6-3), Ryan Heaton (6-1), Austin Schambach (5-10), Jesse Gambellin (6-5) and junior Russell Schwertfeger (5-11).
Schwertfeger will run the offense from the point guard spot and is coming off an impressive sophomore season during which he averaged 8.6 points. Russell is the grandson of longtime Bethany and Brooke High basketball coach Russ Schwertfeger. His father Rusty also was a stellar Brooke County athlete and he currently serves on Reitter's coaching staff along with Lee Weppler and Larry Hood.
The other starting backcourters in Brooke's three-guard offense are Schambach, who averaged four points a game last season and Johnson, a 12 ppg. scorer along with being one of Reitter's dependable rebounders. Wallace, after averaging 7.5 points and five rebounds his junior year, will play the four-spot. Dividing duty in the post will be Gambellin, Heaton and highly regarded freshman Thomas Cole (6-5).
Heaton, a three-year letterman, averaged 7.5 points and was a 43 percent shooter from behind the arc.
Other seniors expected to play impact roles are Colton Fritz (6-2) and Alec Buchmelter (6-0).
The junior class includes a transfer guard from Utah, Aquil Dameron (5-10). Other juniors on the roster are Ethan Sole, Anthony Barnhart, Nick DeStefano, Noah Teaff and Mick Stillson.
Sophomores up from last year's jayvee squad are Mario Lombardi, Luc Pannett, Tim Cornell, Ray Henry, Antonio Pizzuti and Justin Eliott.