Highland Rams Sending Message To Other Basketball Teams

Monterey, VA – A young Highland Rams boys basketball team is off to a 3-1 start and head coach Curt Gutshall says this year’s team is among the best he’s coached at Highland High. The team has only one senior, but a strong crop of younger players for whom Gutshall has high expectations.

The coach talks about his dynamic young detachment.

“They all like playing basketball,” he said. “They’re pretty exciting when they do it. They work hard in practice. They’re about the second best of any team I’ve had since I’ve been coaching. They work hard in practice and it reflects in their games.”

Gutshall talks about some of his key personnel.

“We have one senior returning from last year’s squad – Joey Brendel – he’s our senior leader this year and our only senior. As far as the scoring, I have to say Joey Whitelaw’s one of our top scorers and he’s probably our best three-point shooter. Luke Jones – he’s a good hustler – every night he’s always out there giving me something and he’s pretty consistent with his scoring.

“Travis Simmons – I expect a lot out of him. Travis pretty much runs the show out there at point guard and everything. He passes it off. He gets things moving. TJ [Grant] is really coming with his inside game. I’d like to see John Voss be able to get in there and get a bit more agressive. I think he’ll grow as the season goes on.”

The coach says two of his players are shining on defense.

“Between Luke and Shane Pitzenbarger, they have a good nose for the ball,” he said. “Shane, he comes off the bench. He’s like our sixth or seventh man and he comes in and supplies a good spark. So, I’d say he and Luke Jones are the two top defensive players.

Gutshall says the Rams want to send a message.

“I know we’ll go through some growing pains, but I have the feeling that we can pull a couple upsets,” he said. “I know district play is going to be tough, and our expectations are not as high as what they will be next year, when we only lose one player, but we feel that we have to send a message, this year. We have to get out there and play hard every game and let people know, ‘hey,we’re young. Look what we’re doing to you now. We going to come and get you next year.'”

Joey Brendel, the team’s lone senior, says his job is to motivate.

My responsibility is to keep my team positive,” he said. “Basically, I just uplift everybody – that’s my job.”

The senior says Lex Luthor might be the only thing that can stop the Rams this year.

“This is by far the best team I’ve played on, varsity-wise,” he said. “We have great ptoential and no weaknesses beside kryptonite.”

The Rams travel to Franklin on Friday night to tame the Pendleton County Wildcats. Tipoff time is 6:15 p.m. for the varsity game.

Mark your calendars for January 3, when WVLS-FM will broadcast the 6 p.m. Rams home game against Pioneer District rivals the Bath County Chargers.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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