CHARMCO – When you’ve earned your first state tournament appearance in 36 years, it’s easy to be optimistic about your program. When you return the bulk of your roster from a state tournament qualifier, it’s easy to be downright excited about your team. Please excuse head coach Mark Agee if you see him running around with a big smile on his face these days.
The Greenbrier West girls’ basketball team returned to Charleston last season for the first time since the 1987 Class AA state championship game. A year after dropping season-ending defeats to both Webster County in the sectional and River View in the regional, West vanquished decades of postseason disappointment when they avenged both 2022 postseason losses with wins over the two teams that had postponed their dreams. The Cavaliers scratched out a sectional championship with a 47-46 win over Webster County and then defeated River View 62-51 in the Region III co-final. The Lady Cavaliers advanced to the state tournament and faced Webster County for a third time during the 2023 season. As it turned out, the third time was the charm for the Highlanders as they knocked Greenbrier West out of the tournament with a strong third quarter run. But the wheels had been set in motion.
Excuse head coach Mark Agee if you see him running around with a smile on his face these days. Agee has been pulling double duty since November 6. Agee serves as an assistant coach for the Cavalier football team and has been rearranging practice schedules so he can spend time with the football team and girls’ basketball squad. For Agee, it’s a labor of love.
“It’s enjoyable to have the athletes we’ve been blessed with at Greenbrier West. It’s a great problem to have. I’ve done it through volleyball into basketball and now football into basketball too. I won’t lie, it gets tiring sometimes but it’s worth it. We’ve had to adjust some schedules, but we want our fans to be able to enjoy all of the sports and we definitely want the athletes to support each other.”
Agee returns a solid core this season, beginning with second team All-State forward Preslee Treadway. Treadway averaged over 15 points per game and pulled down an average of 12 rebounds per contest. Treadway poured in 29 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the region co-final win over River View. Agee has raved about Treadway’s maturity and willingness to improve this off-season.
“Preslee is one of the big leaders. You can tell she’s worked in the off season, and she’s gotten a lot better. She’s not just giving orders. Her maturity level has given her the ability to lead by example and with verbal leadership. I expect her to be able to lead this team on the floor. I think she’s ready and prepared to take us to the next level.”
Hannah Sweet is the only senior on the roster, and Coach Agee says her dedication is going to pay off.
“She is working so hard to get in the starting lineup. She’s encouraging to her teammates and although not many have seen it, she has a great shot. She has gotten some floor time in our scrimmages, and she has been telling the pother players how to get lined up and where to be. That’s huge and it may pay off for her soon with a starting role.”
Another key cog in the girls’ basketball machine will be junior forward Maddie Fields. Fields runs the floor well and has range on her three-point shot. Fields drilled a season high four three pointers in the sectional win over Webster County. Fields also has the size to rebound and will be counted on to fill some of the void left by Meagan Poticher who graduated in June.
“Fields was our best defender last season. She’s a real hustler and when she gets hot shooting, she can really knock them down. I just think her defense sets her apart and gives her the ability to do different things.”
Junior Abigail Thomas is a spark plug in the post. Thomas does a lot of the grunt work for the Cavaliers, but don’t let her willingness to pound the glass fool you. Thomas lit up Tygarts Valley for 23 points and also had double digit scoring in both regular season games against River View.
“Thomas is a lot like Preslee and Maddie. Her maturity is going to help her, and her heart is unmatched. She’ll play any position she’s asked, and she’ll give 110% in every spot. For me though, again, it’s maturity. That’s going to make a big difference.”
Ava Barclay also graduated in June, likely paving the way for sophomore Brilee Redden to fill a void at point guard. Redden got extensive playing time as a freshman and that will increase this season. Redden showed the ability to knock down a three pointer and has good ball handling skills.
“Redden got a substantial amount of playing time and I’m hoping the combination of she and Hannah Sweet will be hard to defend. Brilee has good speed and I’m hoping by the end of the season, she’s seeing the floor better and can provide floor leadership in crunch time.”
Haley Ward got some minutes last year and could see a starting role. Agee was effusive in his praise of her improvement.
“Her defense has improved tenfold. Her footwork has gotten so much better, and she is a pure shooter. Being able to defend is the thing that will help her see more playing time.”
Lacey Walker is another junior that is going to provide depth. Keylee Clere is yet another junior that has shown a dedicated work ethic.
“You can tell she works hard. Her ball handling and decision making has improved. She’ll see some playing time.”
Agee went on to say “Madilyn Sweet is someone that has impressed me, especially in the scrimmages. I wanted to see how she’d handle it and I was honestly impressed. She has natural speed and she’s everywhere. She has a decent shot that will improve as the season goes on. The more opportunities she gets to play, the more her decision making will keep getting better. Samantha Holliday is another one I’m excited about. She’s just a bulldog for us. She’s a brick wall setting screens and she will fight for the ball until she secures it, or a foul is called. She’s tenacious.”
Agee wants to test his girls a bit more in the regular season, so they’ll be battle-tested come sectional time.
“Our schedule is a little tougher. We added Oak Hill and they’ll be solid. Wyoming East was a last-minute pickup last year and now they’re coming to us. They’re always good. We’ve also added Shady Spring. I’ve heard good things about them, so we were fortunate to add them. We’re opening with James Monroe. How tough is that? It’s just a pure rivalry with James Monroe and it’s always a hard-fought game. There are good athletes on both sides, and it will be a dogfight like it has been in football. Of course, you can’t forget River View. Our region is tough. Coach Taylor at Meadow Bridge always does a great job and he’ll do it again this season. Our region will be one of the toughest in the state. We’re playing at the Greenbrier this season and might see Berkeley Springs. Coach Robertson has helped to get us games and everything we’ve asked for. Hats off to him for all his help.”
The Greenbrier West girls tip off their season Tuesday night in Lindside at 7:30. Greenbrier Valley Channel will stream the game live on Facebook, YouTube, and Roku.
11/28 at JAMES MONROE
12/01 RIVERVIEW (Subject to change due to football)
12/08 at POCAHONTAS COUNTY
12/13 OAK HILL
12/18 at SHADY SPRING
12/20 MEADOW BRIDGE
12/26 Christmas Tournament at The Greenbrier
12/27 Christmas Tournament at The Greenbrier
01/03 SUMMERS COUNTY
01/05 POCAHONTAS COUNTY
01/09 at RICHWOOD
01/19 SHADY SPRING
01/22 at MIDLAND TRAIL
01/26 JAMES MONROE
01/30 at MEADOW BRIDGE
01/31 at WEBSTER COUNTY
02/06 at SUMMERS COUNTY
02/07 MIDLAND TRAIL
02/12 at OAK HILL
02/13 WYOMING EAST
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