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December 14, 2012

Different style, but Vess no less

Mountaineers center gunning for big goals

He may have gone from being loud and brash to performing like a quiet workhorse, but Zach Vess hasn’t lost any confidence when he’s wearing his black-and-yellow North Murray basketball jersey.

Vess still expects himself to be the best player on the court.

The Mountaineers standout center has his sights set on making his final high school season a special one. Under a new coach and as the returning leading scorer, Vess has taken the role of leader on and off the court, and he sees a chance for his senior class to showcase years of experience playing together with another appearance in the state tournament.

“I believe I have the responsibility, for sure,” Vess said. “Me and my seniors have been playing together since middle school, so I think they’ll step up.”

Last season, Vess and then-senior Tyler Duckett led North Murray to its first appearance in the state tournament. However, a 68-50 loss at Jeff-erson in the first round of the Class 2A bracket — the Mountaineers were a No. 3 seed — and a second half worth forgetting means a sour taste might still be in the mouths of North Murray’s returning players.

“If it is, then they’ve talked about that amongst themselves,” new head coach Tim Ellis said. “I’m not one to really bring up anything from the past.

“I know that they as a team have a lot of lofty goals. I like that.”

North Murray, which went 21-10 overall and 13-3 in Sub-region 7B-2A play last season, has started this year 5-1, including back-to-back victories in the past week to open its Region 5-3A schedule. Outside of league play, the Mountaineers can point to a pair of quality wins against Gordon Lee and Gilmer plus a last-second 69-67 loss to Class 6A’s Meadowcreek at the Southeast Thanksgiving Hoopfest as signs of early success.

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