Hurricane advances with victory over Nitro

Come tournament time, every coach will tell you that it’s all about survive and advance. That’s exactly what Hurricane did Wednesday night as Redskins’ senior guard Abby Watson(17 pts, 10 rebounds) led her team to victory over a scrappy Nitro 57-50 in the Class AAA Region 4, Section 1 semifinal.

Hurricane(15-6) jumped out to a 29-19 lead at halftime but Nitro, behind senior sharp-shooter Savannah Shamblin began the 2nd half with a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 29-28 with 4:53 to go in the 3rd quarter. Shamblin, who will continue her basketball career at WVU Tech next year, finished with a game high 34 points on 12-of-23 shooting for the Lady Wildcats.

Nitro(10-11) took the lead 31-29 with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter. But neither team could mount any type of run as there were nine lead changes and five ties until 1:35 to go in the 4th quarter. That’s when Hurricane freshman Lexi Crompton scored off a bounce pass from sophomore guard Maddy Weeks(13 points) to give the Redskins the lead for good at 50-48.

Nitro got it back to within one, 51-50 with 41 seconds to go in the game but could not score again as Weeks knocked down her last five foul shots at the end to seal the victory.

Nitro junior Kayla Humphrey scored 7 points to go along with freshman Torri Porterfield‘s five points and freshman Bree Vogel‘s 4 points as the Wildcats shot 18-of-45(36%) from the field including 5-of-11(45%) from behind the 3-point line.

For Hurricane, freshman Mary Rogoszewski finished with 15 points, six rebounds and six blocked shots and Kaylee Wooten contributed 6 points. The Redskins finished 22-of-48(46%) from the field and 12-of-24(50%) from the foul line.

Hurricane will travel to St. Albans on Friday night to face the Red Dragons in the Region 4, Section 1 Championship game. St. Albans advanced to the final by defeating Winfield, 72-31.


2015 Class AAA Boys Sectional/Regional Tournament

(All games set to start at 7:00 unless noted)

Region 1, Section 1

3/4/15: Brooke at Parkersburg South; Parkersburg at Wheeling Park

3/6/15: Brooke-South winner vs. Parkersburg-Park winner, at higher seed

Region 1, Section 2

3/4/15: John Marshall at Morgantown; University at Preston

3/6/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 2, Section 1

3/2/15: Hedgesville at Spring Mills; Washington at Musselman

3/4/15: Hedgesville-Spring Mills winner at Martinsburg; Washington-Musselman winner at Jefferson,

3/6/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 2, Section 2

3/4/15: Elkins vs. Hampshire at Keyser High School

3/4/15: Buckhannon-Upshur at Lewis County

3/6/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 3, Section 1

3/2/15: Ripley at Riverside

3/4/15: George Washington at South Charleston; Ripley-Riverside winner at Capital

3/6/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 3, Section 2

3/2/15: Oak Hill at Shady Spring

3/4/15: Princeton at Woodrow Wilson; Oak Hill-Shady Spring winner at Greenbrier East

3/6/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 4, Section 1

3/2/15: Point Pleasant at Nitro

3/4/15: St. Albans at Winfield; Point Pleasant-Nitro winner at Hurricane

3/6/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 4, Section 2

All Games at Cabell Midland High School

3/2/15: Cabell Midland vs. Lincoln County

3/4/15: Logan vs. Spring Valley; Cabell Midland-Lincoln winner vs. Huntington

3/6/15: Championship

2015 Class A Girls Sectional/Regional Tournament

(All games set to start at 7:00 unless noted)

Region 1 Section 1

At Brooke High School

2/23/15: Cameron 53 Bishop Donahue 51; Madonna 70 Hundred 17

2/24/15: Cameron vs. Magnolia; Wheeling Central vs. Madonna

Friday: Championship

Section 2

At Doddridge County High School

2/23/15: Valley Wetzel 58 Tyler Consolidated 50

At Clay-Battelle High School

2/23/15: Trinity 74 Paden City 25

2/25/15: Clay Battelle vs. Trinity, 6:00; St. Marys vs. Valley Wetzel, 7:30

2/28/15: Championship 2:00

Region 2 Section 1

2/23/15: Tygarts Valley 60 Harman 33; Union 51 South Harrison 26

At Elkins High School

2/25/15: Tygarts Valley vs. Notre Dame, 6:00; Union vs. Tucker County, 7:30

2/27/15: Championship

Section 2

2/23/15: Moorefield 59 Paw Paw 48

2/24/15: Pendleton County 64 East Hardy 58; Pocahontas County 74 Moorefield 21

2/27/15: Championship –  Pendleton County vs. Pocahontas County at Petersburg High School

Region 3 Section 1

2/24/15: Van at Greater Beckley Christian ; Montcalm at Man,

2/25/15: Van-Greater Beckley winner at Sherman, late; Montcalm-Man winner at Tug Valley, late

2/26/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Section 2

At Oak Hill High School

2/24/15: Meadow Bridge 43 Valley Fayette 32; Richwood 60 Greenbrier West 39

2/25/15: Fayetteville vs. Richwood, 6:30; Midland Trail vs. Meadow Bridge, 8:00

Friday: Championship

Region 4 Section 1

2/20/15: Wirt County 60  Calhoun County 22; Parkersburg Catholic 56 Doddridge County 42

2/24/15: Williamstown 57 Wirt County 54; Gilmer County 60 Parkersburg Catholic 49

2/27/15: Championship – Williamstown at Gilmer County

Section 2

2/24/15: Buffalo 56, Wahama 30

2/25/15: Buffalo at St. Joseph; Hannan at Charleston Catholic

2/27/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

2015 Class AA Girls Sectional/Regional Tournament

(All games set to start at 7:00 unless noted)

Region 1 Section 1

2/23/15: East Fairmont 55 Weir 30

2/25/15: East Fairmont at Fairmont Senior; Oak Glen at North Marion

2/27/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Section 2

2/23/15: Braxton County 51 Webster County 45

2/25/15: Braxton County at Ravenswood; Ritchie County at Roane County

2/27/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 2 Section 1

2/24/15: Keyser 75 Berkeley Springs 29; Frankfort 59 Petersburg 38

2/27/15: Championship – Frankfort at Keyser

Section 2

2/23/15: Robert C. Byrd 35 Liberty Harrison 20; Grafton 50 Philip Barbour 42

2/25/15: Robert C. Byrd at Bridgeport; Grafton at Lincoln

Friday: Championship at highest remaining seed

Region 3 Section 1

2/25/15: Independence at Liberty Raleigh, 4:00

At Summers County High School

2/26/15: Westside vs. Summers County, 6:00; Wyoming East vs. Independence-Liberty Raleigh winner, 8:00

2/28/15: Championship

Section 2

2/23/15: River View 51 Mount View 43

At Princeton High School

2/24/15: PikeView 77 River View 31; Bluefield 64 James Monroe 59

2/26/15: Championship – Bluefield vs. PikeView

Region 4 Section 1

2/23/15: Nicholas County 35 Poca 28

2/25/15: Herbert Hoover at Sissonville; Nicholas County at Clay County

2/27/15: Championship at highest remaining seed

Section 2

At Williamson Field House

2/23/15: Scott 43 Wayne 41

2/25/15: Mingo Central vs. Tolsia, 6:00; Chapmanville vs. Scott, 8:00

2/27/15: Championship

2015 Class AAA Girls Sectional/Regional Tournament

(All games set to start at 7:00 unless noted)

Region 1 Section 1

2/25/15: Wheeling Park at Parkersburg; Brooke at Parkersburg South

2/27/15: Winners at highest remaining seed

Section 2

2/24/15: Morgantown 76 University 25; John Marshall 55 Preston 53

2/26/15: John Marshall at Morgantown

Region 2 Section 1

2/23/15: Musselman 57 Washington 47; Spring Mills 81 Hedgesville 42

2/25/15: Musselman at Martinsburg; Spring Mills at Jefferson

2/27/15: Winners at highest remaining seed

Section 2

2/25/15: Elkins at Buckhannon-Upshur; Lewis County at Hampshire

2/27/15: Winners at highest remaining seed

Region 3 Section 1

2/23/15: Ripley 79 Riverside 34

2/25/15: Capital at George Washington; Ripley at South Charleston

2/27/15: Winners at highest remaining seed

Section 2

2/24/15: Oak Hill 56 Shady Spring 27

2/25/15: Woodrow Wilson at Princeton; Oak Hill at Greenbrier East

2/27/15: Winners at highest remaining seed

Region 4 Section 1

2/23/15: Winfield 58 Point Pleasant 25

2/25/15: St. Albans 72 Winfield 31; Hurricane 57 Nitro 50

2/27/15: Hurricane at St. Albans

Section 2

All Games at Logan High School

2/23/15: Cabell Midland 54 Lincoln County 49

2/25/15: Huntington 63 Cabell Midland 33; Logan vs. Spring Valley, 8:00

2/2715: Winners, 7:30

Hurricane defeats George Washington, 59-57

Hurricane senior Abby Watson scored a game high 29 points to lead the Redskins to a 59-57 victory over George Washington Monday afternoon in the Little General Stores Shootout in the Big House being held at the Charleston Civic Center.

But it was Watson’s defense along with the help from freshman Lexi Crompton that helped seal the win at the end of the game.  Hurricane Assistant Coach Austin Lowe inserted Crompton into the lineup late in the game to help defend against the Patriots’ Shi Banks. Banks, a 6’-3” sophomore had her way all game against the smaller Hurricane lineup as she tallied 21 points, 19 rebounds and 6 blocked shots.

Hurricane found themselves down by 9 early in the third period but battled back by attacking the basket and getting to the foul line. The Redskins knocked down 16-of-19 free throws in second half which included Watson’s 13-of-15 performance.

With 7.3 seconds to go, Watson hit 1-of-2 from the foul line to put the Redskins up 59-57. Watson then tied up the Patriots’ Dee McMillan as McMillan tried to drive to the basket with 1.3 seconds left. The possession arrow gave it to the Patriots but a last second shot by Banks fell short.

Hurricane freshman guard Mary Rogoszewski finished with a double-double as she totaled 14 points along with 13 rebounds and sophomore Maddy Weeks, who suffered a cut above her left eye during the contest contributed 12 points for the Class AAA #9 Redskins (14-5). Hurricane shot 16-of-50(32%) from the field and converted 23-of-28(82%) from the foul line.

For George Washington (10-7), Hailey Stewart scored 13 points and Jessica Lowen added 11. The Patriots shot 23-of-57(40%) from the field and 10-of-17(59%) from the foul line.

Hatfield-McCoy Shootout Schedule for 1/17/15

Williamson Fieldhouse

The Annual Hatfield-McCoy WV/KY shootout will take place on January 17 at the Williamson Fieldhouse. As always, there is a solid lineup of games that will make for a great day of watching hoops at the historic fieldhouse. Here is the schedule for the day:

11:30 am            Phelps (KY) vs. Hannan

1:00 pm            Pike Central (KY) vs. Man

2:30 pm            Belfry (KY) vs. Mingo Central (Girls)

4:00 pm            East Ridge (KY) vs. Tolsia

5:30 pm            Wesley Christian (KY) vs. South Charleston

7:00 pm            Belfry (KY) vs. Mingo Central

8:30 pm            Sheldon Clark (KY) vs. Valley (Fayette)

The first matchup features two tiny schools. I’m told the Hornets of Phelps are improved this year and currently hold a record of 6-9. Hannan sits at 2-7 on the season.

The Pike County Central Hawks are currently in the top half of their 16-team region with a 9-9 record. From watching them each of the last two seasons, this should be a good matchup with Man. The Hillbillies currently sit at 3-4 on the season.

The Shootout includes a girls contest this year, as Mingo Central and Belfry will meet in the Tug River Rivalry. The Miners are at 5-5, while Belfry sits at 7-8.

The Warriors of East Ridge are 7-8 and sit in the middle of the pack in their region in KY. They take on a Tolsa team that is still in search of their first win.

Wesley Christian is a prep school that no longer competes in the KHSAA. This team has played a slew of WV schools already, ranging from Huntington Prep to Ambassador Christian. Probably their two most relevant games are close wins over Tug Valley and Charleston Catholic. The Black Eagles of South Charleston are still undefeated. I expect this to be a much better matchup than when these two teams met two years ago, when SC ran them out of the fieldhouse.

Next, we have the boys’ version of the bitter Tug River Rivalry game. The Pirates sit at just 3-9 on the season but have lost a bunch of close games and also have a 2-point home win over Tug Valley. Mingo Central is 8-3. This game produced a fantastic ending a year ago, with Dalton Hatfield hitting a runner at the buzzer to give the Miners the victory in front of a packed house.

The final game will feature the 12-1 Cardinals of Sheldon Clark, who have been in control of this region in KY where most all the other teams in this Shootout play (except Wesley Christian). The Valley Greyhounds are 6-1 on the season and should match up very well with Sheldon Clark. This could very well end up being the game of the day.

If you live anywhere within reasonable driving distance, come out to the Williamson Fieldhouse on Saturday. You will get a good day of hoops at one of the most historic venues in the state.

(All above records are as accurate as I could find as of 1/14/15 before any games were played on that day.)

Chapmanville 64–Mingo Central 62 1/13/15

Drew Williamson tipped one in at the buzzer to give Chapmanville a 64-62 win over Mingo Central on Tuesday night. Williamson led all scorers with 23, with Josh Butcher adding 18 and Jordan Whitt 13. Dikembe and Montrell Dixson scored 20 and 18, respectively, for the Miners.

Both teams came out playing well offensively in the first quarter, with Chapmanville leading 17-14 at the end of it. The Tigers then played most of the next two quarters somewhat in control of the game. The lead seemed to stay somewhere around 8-10 points, with CRHS leading by 8 at the half and 9 after three quarters.

Mingo Central started to come alive in the fourth and slowly chipped away at the lead. A Montrell Dixson jumper and a steal and lay in by Dalton Hatfield (9 pts) with about a minute to play gave the Miners their first lead since at least the first quarter if not the entire ballgame at 60-59. Central appeared to have a steal on the ensuing possession, but somehow Trey Dalton came up with the ball and found Butcher wide open on the wing, and he drilled a 3-pointer to put the Tigers back up by 2. Montrell Dixson came right back down, scored, and was fouled with around 30 seconds to play, but he missed the free throw. Tie game at 62 with Chapmanville holding for the last shot. Butcher drove to the baseline and put up a leaner from about 15-feet away that missed, and then a teammate (I couldn’t tell who) tipped the ball back up to the rim and missed. This time, it came off the back side right into the hands of Williamson, who tipped it back up and in just ahead of the buzzer to seal the victory.

Chapmanville is looking better and better. They have one of the best and most consistent scorers in the state in Butcher, and Williamson gets better every time I see him. He’s already proven that he’s a lethal shooter, but he shows me a few more things he can do on both ends of the court every time I watch him. This is also the best game I have seen Jordan Whitt play thus far. They will need him to continue to improve and give them a presence inside. Ben Eke is now eligible to play, but I am told he has a shoulder injury that could cause him to miss significant time. Without him, they are a team that is good defensively and can get hot and put points on the board with just about anyone. If they are ever able to finally get him in the lineup, this could be a really good team.

This is the third time I’ve seen Mingo Central (all against good teams), and each time I’ve watched them, they have looked really good in spurts. The Dixsons were just okay for some stretches, but then they took to game over for stretches of the fourth quarter and came within a bounce of the ball (the near-steal in the last minute) from likely pulling out the win. Mallie May (8 pts), who is somehow playing and really getting after it despite having a completely torn ligament in his knee, really gives this team a lift. They have been playing well of late, and if this team can get it rolling and put everything together, they will be really, really dangerous.

Why Do Private Schools Win So Many “A” Championships?

Let’s start with a trivia question:

In the three-classification era (1959-present), how many public schools that have won the Class A boys’ basketball state championship are still in existence?

(I’ll give you a second to think about it.)

(If you just throw out a number I bet it will be high.)

(If you actually try to name them, you’ll realize how low it is.)

(If you went to the WVSSAC website, you cheated.)

Ok. Time for the answer: 5. Yep, just 5 public schools that have ever won a Class A boys’ state title are still in existence. Those 5, starting with the most recent:

Tug Valley (2013)

Doddridge County (1994)

Paden City (1987, 1973, 1960)

Hedgesville (1970)

Williamstown (1962)

(If we want to add public school teams still in existence that have made it to a final but did not win, we can only add 6 more.)

Let’s take a closer look at those five schools. I’d like to begin by throwing Hedgesville out for our purposes. Yes, Hedgesville is still a school, but that school does not exist in any similar way to how it existed in 1970. It had grown to at least five times the size it was then before some of the students were taken from it to start Spring Mills.

(I’m getting somewhere with this, I promise.)

That leaves us with 4. Let’s look at Tug Valley next. This school was AA for most of its existence (opened in 1987), dropped down to A for a few years in the mid-2000s, jumped back up to AA, and then dropped back down to A for the 2012-13 season in which they won the title. (If I had to guess, I’d say they will be in Class A to stay now.) After winning the AA title in 2012, the Panthers dropped down and snap an 11-season private school run of titles. They will be in the mix for more titles in the coming years.

Before Tug, we have to go all the way back to Doddridge County knocking off Burch to claim the 1994 title to find a Class A championship school that is still in existence. Before that, Paden City won one title each in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, and Williamstown picked up a title in 1962. Outside of Hedgesville in 1970, that’s it.

So this all leads to my ultimate point and question in writing this: Why do private schools win so many Class A state championships? As is usually the case, you can’t narrow it down to just one factor. I do think that private schools do have an advantage over the public A schools, not that they necessarily “recruit” like many charge them of doing, but that they are in much larger population areas. Schools will have a better chance of drawing good athletes from areas like Charleston and Beckley than they do from places like Van and Montcalm.

But of course that’s not the only reason. These private schools that have been successful have some really good coaches. I saw more evidence of this firsthand each of the last two years when I watched Coach McClanahan take Charleston Catholic teams that looked pretty average early in the season all the way to the title game. I’ve also always thought the private school championship teams were usually really, really good on defense, which is always an underrated reason why teams win titles.

But could there be another reason? Is it possible that most of the public school teams that would win Class A titles are just no longer in existence? Sure, there are teams that can and do compete on a regular basis. Tucker County, who is a bounce or two away from having at least one title, is the clearest example of this. I expect Tug Valley and Magnolia to join this group now that they have moved down (and also win some championships.) Others, like St. Marys in 2012, make runs from time to time and are certainly capable of winning the title, but for some reason always seem to come up a little short.

Let’s think of some schools that are no longer around to test this. Mullens was one of the major powers in the classification and won the 1998 title in the final year of the school. Who had a great run in the mid- to late-2000s? Wyoming East, of course. Is it possible that Mullens or Pineville (I’m not sure where the majority of those kids came from) could have claimed a title or two in that stretch? It’s certainly possible.

A much more current example is Oceana. The school was a regular basketball power for years until it closed in the early 2000s. Do you think Oceana might have won the Class A title last season with Corey Bowles, Justin Cogar, and Will Fox if the school was open? Westside was right in contention for the AA title. You would have to love their chances to win the A title last year.

So many more great Class A basketball traditions are gone: Harts, Burch, Huntington Vinson, Williamson, etc. Some shriveled up to where there wouldn’t be much left at the school, but others are still producing that same talent, but it’s now consolidated into a AA or AAA school. Even though Charleston Catholic, Wheeling Central, and Parkersburg Catholic have had some really good teams, I can’t help but think some of these schools would have won some of the state championships over that time period.

No disrespect is intended to the current Class A public schools, many of which are perfectly capable of winning titles but have just been unable to break through for one reason or the other. There are many factors as to why private schools have dominated the classification in boys’ basketball in the last 15 years, but I believe a big part of it is that many of the schools that might knock them off simply no longer exist.

Capital 78–Winfield 59 1/10/15

Winfield fought off an early flurry from Capital but could not withstand a big second half charge as the Cougars rolled to a 78-59 victory at home on Saturday night. Jordan Kinney and LeAndre’ Rogers paced Capital with 19 points apiece, and Neal Williams added 14.  Heath Diehl led all scorers with 23 for Winfield, and Bear Bellomy and Alex Osburn chipped in 12 and 11, respectively.

The Generals struggled with Capital’s pressure early as the Cougars jumped out to a 15-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. Winfield bounced back in the second, however, due largely to a scoring flurry by Diehl (13 in the quarter). The Capital lead was just one at 32-31 at the half. Capital came storming out of the gate in the second half, outscoring the Generals 29-11 in the third quarter before rolling to the 19-point victory.

Outside of a few lulls in the second quarter, Capital looked really good again. The first time I saw them play, they tried to pack in their defense and slow the game down a little bit against South Charleston. They were the opposite in this one, playing (often full court) pressure man-to-man defense, pushing the pace, and trying to force Winfield into quick shots and turnovers. Winfield struggled with this pressure and Capital feasted off of it for much of the night. The Cougars can match up athletically with anyone in the state, and have a chance to make it back to Charleston for the first time in a few years.

This was a really difficult matchup for Winfield. They didn’t have the athleticism to match up with Capital, nor did they have the size to gain an advantage inside. They fought valiantly in the first half, though, especially with that crazy scoring run from Diehl. The good news for Winfield is that this game is over and they won’t have to worry about Capital again unless the two would happen to meet in the state tournament. They can match up with everyone in their section and region with the possible exception of Huntington, and they always have a shot with the way Bellomy can shoot it. If Diehl continues to play well and can become a third scorer alongside Bellomy and Osburn, that will go a long way. I still think Winfield will win a couple games they probably shouldn’t and maybe lose a couple games they shouldn’t throughout the season, and I think they have a great chance to make it to the sectional final. They will have at least a puncher’s chance from there.