Midland Trail’s Nathan Hanshew had 69 3s for the Patriots last season
By Dave Morrison
HICO – Midland Trail returns four starters from last season’s 8-14 team.
A team that is heavy on guards also is heavy on football players from the Patriots recently completed 12-1 season, that included an appearance in the Class A semifinals.
All four of the returning starters, Austin Isaacs, Nathan Hanshew, Colin Dempsey and Trevor Harrell we’re key components on the football team.
“I think our football success will lead to success on the court as well,” said coach Curtis Miller, an assistant coach with the football team.
The one that isn’t back, however, is a big one. Noah Minor was second in the area in scoring, averaging 24.5 points er game, including five games over 30 points or more. He never scored fewer than 14 points and had 19 games with more than 20 points. He scored his 1,000th career point as well.
Not since the days of Steve Shuff and Davy Fox (late 1980s) did the Patriots have as prolific scorer as Minor.
He is truly an irreplaceable part to the Trail offense.
But Miller thinks he has a plan.
“When you lose a 25-point scorer everyone is going to have to step up their game,” Miller said. “We don’t have much size so we will use a five-guard lineup a lot. We will also do more full-court stuff.”
Hanshew is the leading returning scorer at 14.5 ppg and he was one of the top three-point shooters in the area with 69. He had 18 double figure games, including 11 in a row midway through the season.
Sophomore Indy Eades will take over as the point guard, which will allow a key move.
“I can move Austin (Isaacs) to the wing where he belongs,” Miller said.
Last season Isaacs averaged 8.2 ppg, including 31 3 pointers and he was a 74-percent free throw shooter (37 of 50). Isaacs is still recovering from a sprained ankle suffered in football but he should be good to go early in the season.
“Nathan put on 20 pounds of muscle since last season,” Miller said. “Austin has gotten way more athletic. I look for those two to have big years.”
Dempsey averaged 4.0 ppg and Trevor Harler, an enforcer inside and a member of the “Great Wall of Hico “ offensive line, averaged 2.1 ppg.
Miller is high on the sophomore class and likes the depth provided by Peyton Sheaves, Beau Campbell, Liam Gill and John Starks.
“I feel like we will be nine deep so I hope we wear teams down,” Miller said. “I’m sure everyone will count us out because we lost Minor. But I think we will surprise some people. This sophomore class is legit. Good things are coming for Trail basketball.”
Miller said Aiden Lesher, a freshman prospect, could also see action.
Midland Trail was slated to kick off the season on Dec. 6 at Sherman, but because of the football team’s extended run will instead tip off the season at home against Richwood Dec. 14.
The game Sherman is rescheduled for Jan 17, a home game against Gilmer County (originally Dec. 8) is rescheduled for Jan. 12 and a game at Greenbrier West (originally Dec. 11) will be played Feb. 14.