HUNTINGTON — Winfield returns one basketball player who averaged double figures in scoring last season and the Generals know they'll need more than senior guard Christian Frye's 11.4 points per game to compete in the Cardinal Conference.
Recent team tournaments, one last week at George Washington High School and another Thursday and Friday at Marshall University, helped Winfield coaches acquire a feel for who can do what heading into the 2019-20 season.
"We get to work on stuff in the summer time that gets these guys together where they've been off for a while," said Generals assistant coach Jason Beller, who ran the team Thursday in absence of head coach Chris Stephens, who had an appointment elsewhere. "Get the camaraderie back, work on leadership and see what we have coming in new. We lost some players and have to rebuild some areas, so this helps us see what we're going to be."
Winfield lost three seniors to graduation, including leading scorer Zachary Simpkins, who averaged 11.6 points per game. Also gone are fellow guards Luke Kincaid and Bryant Moore. Beller said supplementing that back court is a priority in improving on an 11-13 record last season, which ended with a 44-43 sectional tournament loss to Poca, a team the Generals beat twice during the regular season.
Beller said he likes what he's seen from Winfield so far. At G.W., the Generals played the host Patriots, Riverside and parkersburg South.
All three games against Class AAA foes were what Beller described as competitive. So was Thursday's game against Class AAA state tournament semifinalist Cabell Midland. The Knights pulled away late to win by about 10 points, although scoring was generally dismissed by many, as the rules were not entirely game-like.
"We like coming down here to Marshall, Beller said. "There's always good competition. We just played Midland and they're a triple-A school, a state tournament triple-a school. That kind of sets the bar and lets us see what we need to work on and where we're at. Marshall always puts together good competition."
The Generals also played Class A power Clarksburg Notre Dame and Class AA Tug Valley on Thursday.
"We need to work every day as a team, as a group, and get better," Beller said.