MOUNDSVILLE - Lacking the size and the physicality to pound the ball inside against most opponents, John Marshall boys' coach Bill Storm sees patience on offense as the key if the Monarchs are going to have a successful season.
During Friday night's home opener against Oak Glen, the Monarchs sailed through the back door to the basket time and again in rolling past the rebuilding Golden Bears 54-28.
''With no size inside, that's the way we are going to have to play,'' Storm said. ''We even have to be more patient than we were.
''I'm still looking looking to see who our go-to guy is going to be. We need to find that guy that we know is going to give us that basket when we need it.''
Although he didn't start because of a hamstring problem the last 10 days of the preseason, senior Evan Magers provided some early indication he might be ready to step up in the clutch for the Monarchs. Magers hit all five shots he attempted from the floor in pacing the Monarchs scoring with 13 points. Ryan Davis drained a couple of 3s during the first quarter and finished with 10 points.
Back on the Oak Glen bench for the first time in nine years, Coach David Smith has no illusions about the difficulty he faces in trying to resurrect the Golden Bears program.
However, despite the outcome, Smith expressed his joy at being back in charge of the basketball program.
''I love every second of it,'' said Smith, who coached Oak Glen to a West Virginia Class AA state tournament berth in 2004. ''I know we are going to have a rough go this year but as a coaching staff we can't and won't give up on these kids.''
Defending John Marshall's deliberate offense was one of Oak Glen's main problems in the mutual opener. Especially early in the game, the Monarchs were able to spread the floor and pass the ball around several times before one of their cutters broke free for a layup.
This also resulted in few opportunities for the Golden Bears as during the first half they got off 12 shots. Oak Glen scored two points in the second quarter while trailing26-8 at the intermission.
The visitors held the lead once at 2-0 after junior forward Taylor Kincaid flashed across the lane and hit a turnaround jumper from just inside the free-throw stripe.
John Marshall senior guard Derek Och worked his way free to the basket and dropped in a layup to tie the score. Cole Sobutka then rebounded his own missed shot to put the Monarchs in front to stay.
Davis was left alone twice behind the arc at the top of the key and banged in both around a Cody Howell inside bucket for the Golden Bears as John Marshall broke out to a 10-4 advantage.
Kincaid and Cody Howell finished with 10 points each to lead the scoring for Oak Glen.
John Marshall shot a shade less than 50 percent, hitting 19 of 40 shots, while the Golden Bears finished 12 of 29 from the field..
''I really didn't know what to expect,'' said Storm. ''We really came out and played some tough man-to-man half-court defense. They had a couple of big kids inside but we were able to keep them from getting the ball underneath most of the game.''