With the Kanawha Valley perhaps poised for one of its best boys basketball seasons in a long time, making one of the biggest jumps in the state Class AAA poll this week was none other than Capital.
The Cougars, off to a 3-0 start, vaulted into the No. 6 position in the first regular-season balloting after coming in 14th in voting for the preseason poll — and not even being part of the initial top 10.
It's the first time Capital has started a season 3-0 since 2007-08, when it won its first eight starts.
Senior guard Carrington Morris, an undeniable talent, leads the Cougars attack at 24.7 points per game, followed by Deandre Rogers (14.5) and the low-post tandem of Bryce Goldsmith (11.7) and Brad Grose (10.0).
Capital has already beaten George Washington and Hurricane, teams with a combined 7-1 record outside of their games with the Cougars. Each of those opponents was ahead of the Cougars in the preseason state poll voting.
Coach Carl Clark is cautiously optimistic as the season kicks into high gear this week with games against No. 3 South Charleston (4-0) and Winfield (5-2). He realizes his players have to stay together and complete the 22-game regular season the way they started it.
"That's always the case,'' Clark said. "You just don't know with these kids. But so far we haven't lost to anybody, and we have some kids who can play.''
Skyler's the limit
Logan coach Mark Hatcher is hoping and praying for another happy ending as his team goes another round with cancer.
The last time, it was Hatcher himself who was diagnosed with a cancerous kidney. This time, it's sophomore guard Skyler Miller, who again finds himself battling leukemia.
Miller, a football standout and reserve player on Hatcher's basketball squad, was diagnosed with leukemia last spring and fought it all summer, Hatcher said, undergoing chemotherapy treatments that were initially successful.
However, the blood disorder has recently returned and Miller now faces another round of treatments. He played in his final high school game of the season on Saturday in a 69-27 home win against Nitro, starting the game and scoring six points before an appreciative crowd.
"He's just a great kid,'' Hatcher said of Miller, who openly deals with his situation, including entries on his Twitter account, skymiller1.
"He's really vocal in the community about fighting cancer. He's a Christian kid, so he's done a lot of prayer stuff. He's got his own organization [Logan County Hope], which raises money for kids in this area [battling cancer].''
Hatcher, who lost 20 percent of one of his kidneys to cancer in May of 2012, marvels at how Miller deals with his diagnoses and the physical grind of chemo treatments.
"He was one of our strongest kids in weight-lifting,'' Hatcher said. "He was about 175 pounds when it hit him the first time, and he went down to about 115 in August — lost almost 60 pounds. Since August, he built himself back up to 142, 143.
"He battled it all summer. He fought back and got his body nice and strong again to get to play more. He's a fighter. He's not going to sit back and let it consume him. He's going to fight it with everything he's got.''