The Clarksburg Coyotes are 2-0, and while the season is young, a solid start is important for a club with a new head coach.
New coach Steven Watson takes over this season after Coach George “GJ” Kissal left to coach at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney after last season. Under Kissal, the team was 17-9 and made a deep post-season run falling to Whitman in overtime in the semi-finals of the regional tournament.
Under Watson, the team has picked up where it left off last year winning its first two games. The Coyotes won their season opener against neighboring Urbana with a come from behind victory to win 86-70 on Wednesday, Dec. 7.
The season opener was an emotional game for a number of students. It was the six month anniversary of the fatal crash which took the lives of three members of the senior class. The accident, in which took the lives of Jacob Dennis, Cary Greene, and Patrick Shifflett, has colored so much of what happens at Clarksburg High School and many of the players on the basketball team were close with those lost on that seventh day in June.
Perhaps it was nerves, or maybe the new coach, or the emotional weight of the anniversary, but the Urbana Hawks were able to open up a 12 point lead on the Coyotes in the second quarter. After the halftime break, the Coyotes battled back on the road to take the lead in the third quarter. Once they had the lead Clarksburg didn’t look back going on to win the season opener by 16 points over the Hawks, 86-70.
On Monday, the Coyotes were in action again, this time hosting the Wootton Patriots in the home opener. Again the Coyotes found themselves trailing early but battled back to win 77-71 to improve their record to 2-0.
The Coyotes will face a tough test tonight (Wednesday) as they play a road game against Richard Montgomery team. The Rockets are unbeaten in three games this season, with wins over Gaithersburg, Episcopal, and a 40-33 victory over Blair on Monday.
Top: Clarksburg senior guard Michael Winterburn (4) with the layup during the Coyotes season-opening victory at Urbana.
Next: Junior forward Stephen Armstrong (23) looks for options during the game at Urbana.
Next: Senior guard Ian Krishnan (3) drives the lane.
Photos by Karen Armstrong.