Girls state tournament begins Wednesday
HUNTINGTON -- As the 24 girls basketball teams remaining around the state get ready for the West Virginia State Girls Basketball Tournament at Charleston Civic Center, there are a few interesting scenarios shaping up.
Sure, everyone in Class AA is gunning for WestSide and all the teams in Class A are looking to keep Huntington St. Joe from winning its fifth-straight Class A girls title.
But Class AAA? No one knows what to think or who the favorite is in that race.
Yes, Spring Valley is the No. 1 seed overall and comes into the tournament having won 22 of its last 23 games after starting the year 0-2.
But the Timberwolves haven't been to the state tournament since 2003 and will be looking for the first girls state basketball title in school history.
Ironically, many of the players on the Timberwolves' roster have played on the Civic Center floor before, but it has been part of the Spring Valley volleyball state championship appearances.
This will be a different experience all around -- and one the team is looking forward to.
"It's a lot more exciting going up for basketball because the community has gotten behind us and they're supporting us," Spring Valley point guard Sarah Kelly said. "All week, we've been getting a lot of good luck texts and people coming up and saying they are rooting for us. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Spring Valley is not alone in that regard.
Of the eight teams in the Class AAA field, only one - Morgantown - is returning to the tournament from last year's Class AAA field.
Defending champion Greenbrier East was ousted by Capital - the Timberwolves' first-round opponent on Wednesday - while several others, including Huntington High, didn't even make it to the region co-finals.
Princeton and Logan are both on the same side of the bracket as the Timberwolves, which would make for an interesting semifinal matchup should Spring Valley take care of the Cougars on Wednesday evening at 7:15 p.m.
Spring Valley defeated Princeton by one in the regular-season, and also had a one-point win over Logan in last week's Region IV, Section 2 final.
On the opposite side of the bracket, Morgantown, who defeated Spring Valley early in the season, takes on Martinsburg in the 11:15 a.m. matchup while Parkersburg South meets Hedgesville at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday.
In Class A, Huntington St. Joe will start its quest for a fifth-straight title at 5:30 p.m. against Man in the game preceding before the Spring Valley-Capital matchup.