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Lewis D'Antoni tips off state tournament

Mar. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- The homecoming aspect of the West Virginia High School Basketball Tournament will be on display through Saturday night as the 100th anniversary of the boys tournament is recognized.

The tournament began Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum. The opening attraction was the ceremonial jump ball between Charleston Catholic and Buffalo Putnam players. Handling the duties was Lewis D'Antoni, former coach at Mullens High and Chesapeake High. D'Antoni, 99, wore a Los Angeles Lakers jacket. His son, Mike, is coach of the Lakers.

"It's sort of a climax of my life. It was wonderful," D'Antoni told Jeff Jenkins of MetroNews. "They've been so good to me. Everything's been great."

D'Antoni won six letters when he starred at Mullens. Following a successful career at Concord College, he returned to Wyoming County. He began his coaching career at Pineville in 1942 and then back home to Mullens where he coached for 17 seasons.

He led the Rebels to a state title in 1955. Willie Akers was the leader of that team.

The elder D'Antoni has seen his sons, Danny and Mike, be successful in basketball beyond Mullens High. Danny is Mike's assistant. D'Antoni's daughter Kathy is an assistant state school superintendent.

Attendance for the morning session was 7,419.

WHEELING CENTRAL 58, MAGNOLIA 35: David Park had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lead No. 7 Wheeling Central (14-12) to an upset win over No. 2 Magnolia (21-5) in the Class A quarterfinals. The Maroon Knights have won six of their last seven after starting 2-7. Magnolia's 2,000-point scorer, Mark Winters, finished with 20 points. No other Magnolia player had more than six.

TUCKER COUNTY 68, GREATER BECKLEY CHRISTIAN 61: Tyler Snyder had 22 points and Jan Nichols 20 to lead the No. 4 Moutain Lions (21-3) past the Crusaders (19-6). Javonne Staunton-Bailey paced Greater Beckley with 17 points.

Tucker County will play No. 1 seed Tug Valley in the semifinals Friday at 1 p.m.