"I think all the summer ball that we've played has made them juniors now. We've still got a long way to come. We're going to get more confidence and by sectional time we'll be ready to play. We want to get back to Charleston where we were two years ago. If we keep working there's no doubt in my mind we can.''
Kingery returned to the Coal Field Shootout this weekend.
He guided Scott to a 68-58 record in five seasons and took the Skyhawks to a pair of state tournament berths in five years - the school's only two such seasons since 1943. Kingery left to take the same position at Berwick, Pa., at a school with 1,100 students.
"I left on a high note,'' he said of advancing to the state title game in his last season in 2010 before falling to Oak Hill.
Last season was Kingery's first at Berwick, which won just three games.
"Of course Berwick's known for its football,'' he said. "We're trying to get a basketball program built. The kids are doing everything I ask. This year we have a goal to make it to our district playoffs. I really feel like we're going to do that. These kids have really busted their butts in the offseason. They're wanting to make a state this year.''
Kingery said he is proud to see the Shootout continue to grow.
"Nick Cabell's done a magnificent job," he said. "It was his idea and we ran with it. You can't ask for a better one-day shootout. Hopefully he continues to do it. I know the sponsorships are getting a little bit tougher because of everything going on with the coalmines. I'd love to come down here every year.''
Wyoming East coach Rory Chapman learned a few things about his players Saturday.
Chapman saw a double-digit lead whittled to just a couple before the Warriors held on for a 62-59 victory over Tuscarawas (Ohio) Catholic after a 3-point attempt at the buzzer hit off the front of the rim.
"You have to finish games and play to the final whistle,'' said East coach Rory Chapman on what his team gained from the experience. "We had a 14-point lead and the next thing you know they get two or three good looks and it's a one-, two, three-point game.
"We had a leading scorer out. His backup hurt his arm in the second quarter and left and we found a way to win so I'm pleased with that. We're a young team. We're going to have some growing pains. We don't play many teams that do what they do. It was a good experience for us.''
The Warriors have been a staple at the AA state tournament, winning back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008 and finishing as runner-up in 2009 and 2010.
"We're going to have to grow a lot,'' said Chapman of making it back to states. "That's our goal every year to win a state championship. We've won them before and played for several others. These kids have to buy in and when they buy in, we'll make it.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.