Dominik King was the only returning GW player to average more than 4 points last season, and he's scoring at about 10 ppg this year. Joining him in key roles are freshmen Anthony Dean, Deshawn Womack and Larry Bryson. Dean and Womack have started in recent games and Bryson is now one of the first players off the bench.
Then there's 6-5 senior Cai Carena, who played little as either a sophomore at SC or a junior at GW, scoring a total of 25 varsity points those two seasons. Suddenly, he's a force with 16 points and six rebounds in a victory at Winfield and 18 points and 12 rebounds in a win at Capital.
So just how is GW doing it - mixing its young and green players with Elmore?
"I just try to help them as much as I can,'' Elmore said. "I kind of try to take them under my wing and mentor them a little, whether that's in practice or in key moments during the game. I'm really looking out for them. I'm meeting with them between plays, just pointing out stuff.
"The guys have been great. Everybody's responded well to it and guys have really stepped up.''
Uphill climb for Valley?
Things have gone pretty smoothly so far for Valley, the No. 6 team in Class A.
The Greyhounds (14-1) have won 10 straight and already avenged their lone loss, a 49-46 home setback to Midland Trail on Jan. 3.
Valley hasn't been involved in all that many close games, either, with 10 of its 14 victories coming by 17 or more points. But all that could be coming to a head.
Saturday's clash against highly regarded Clay-Battelle (13-5) in the finals of the Hometown Invitational Tournament was postponed by snow, but the Hounds square off today with homestanding Class AA Nicholas County (10-6), which has been state-ranked about half the season.
Then they visit defending single-A state champion Tug Valley on Feb. 21, host AA Sissonville (which has won four in a row) on Feb. 25 and visit 11-win Buffalo Feb. 28.
"I told our boys the other night that now's the time to be tested,'' said Valley coach Joe McCoy. "It's almost tournament time. We either step up, or we find out where we are right now.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.