Chapmanville boys the last team standing

By Paul Adkins Sports Editor

March 11, 2014

CHAPMANVILLE — Since 1999 the Chapmanville Tigers’ basketball team has reached the regional championship game eight times.

Chapmanville is 0-for-8.

The Tigers hope to change that with Thursday night’s historic Class AA Region 4 co-championship game at home against Nicholas County.

Chapmanville comes into the game 19-5 and ranked No. 9 in the state in 2A . The Tigers are fresh off last Friday night’s thrilling and controversial 54-53 win over arch rival Scott in the Class AA sectional championship game at Logan. It was Chapmanville’s first section title since 2006 under former coach Dave Elkins.

Nicholas County is 14-10 and unranked after the Grizzlies were blown out 82-47 at No. 2-ranked Poca (23-1) last Friday in the the other sectional title game.

Tip off is set for 7 p.m. at Chapmanville’s 1,600-seat Danny Godby Gymnasium.

With the loss to Chapmanville, Scott (16-7) must travel to Poca on Thursday night in the other regional co-final.

The Tigers are hosting a regional tourney game on their home floor for the first time in school history.

Back in 1979 and 1982 Chapmanville hosted regional finals but played them on neutral floors.

The Tigers are hoping to get the proverbial monkey off their backs and get off the decades-long schneid with a victory over Nicholas County to notch the school’s first-ever state tournament berth in boys’ basketball.

The Chapmanville girls have been there but never the boys.

Ever since the 1950s when Chapmanville Tiger basketball began to take root the school always had a dream of playing in the state tournament.

It was never to be as often times the Tigers were stymied either in the sectional or regional tourneys.

Recently, Chapmanville has lost eight regional title games, leaving the Tigers just one game short of the big dance.

From 1999-2003 Tug Valley provided that road block as the Panthers beat Chapmanville five straight years in the regional finals.

Two more times, in the 2000s, then Double-A school and county rival Logan beat Chapmanville in regional championship games to prevent the Tigers from going.

The latest setback was in 2010 when Sissonville edged the then Harry Kirk-coached Tigers 63-53 in the 2A regional finals at Riverside High School.

Chapmanville will try it again this week.

With the win over Scott, the Tigers’ path to Charleston is much easier as CRHS will not have to make the dreaded trip to Poca High School to face the very talented Dots in Poca’s crackerbox-like gym.

Chapmanville instead gets Nicholas County at home.

The Tigers will try to seize this opportunity.

“This is a big win and it is the first time Chapmanville has ever had a chance to go to the state tournament on their home court,” Chapmanville second-year coach Allan Hatcher said after last Friday night’s win over the Skyhawks. “We have a tremendous opportunity on our home court. This is the first time we have hosted for the state tournament. We’re not in the state tournament yet. We have a chance and an opportunity to we need to take advantage of. I’m excited about that opportunity.”

With Chapmanville’s win over Scott last Friday, the Tigers are the last Logan County high school basketball team to stay alive in post-season play. The Logan boys were ousted in the sectionals last Thursday by Spring Valley. The Chapmanville girls saw their season come to a close with a loss at Sissonville in the Class AA regional co-final.

The CRHS boys are the last ones left.

If Chapmanville wins, the Tigers will advance to play in the 101st boys’ state tournament, set for March 19-22 at the Charleston Civic Center.

Despite never having made it to the state tourney, Chapmanville’s teams have had court experience over the years on the Civic Center floor as the Tigers have taken part in the pre-Christmas Hoops Classic from time to time.

Chapmanville was at the Civic Center early on this season as the Tigers routed Marion County 72-43 in the Big 10-Cardinal Conference Showdown as part of the Hoops Classic.

The Tigers are led by first-year player Josh Butcher, a 6-foot junior guard. Butcher is Chapmanville’s leading scorer and paced the Tigers in the Scott game with a game-high 21 points. He was 3-for-6 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from the foul line.

Other top Tigers include: post-men Kenny Plumley and Brady Cox; guards Trey Dalton and Joe Tackett; forwards Zac Casto and Jon Williamson; and others.

Nicholas County is led by 5-foot-10 senior guard Jared Tharp. He had 14 points in the game with Poca.

The Grizzlies have size with 6-7 Zach McCourt, 6-5 Justin Browning, 6-3 Nathan Stewart and 6-3 Cody McClung.

The team is coached by Brian Phipps.

Nicholas County had its hands full with the Dots, which shot a blistering 20-for-25 from the floor for 80 percent in the first half, building an insurmountable 47-13 halftime lead. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, were only 4-for-20 for a woeful 20 percent. The Dots were 5-of-6 shooting from the 3-point line in the first two quarters.

“They shoot so good here,” Coach Phipps told the Charleston Gazette after the game. “Our game plan was to really try to slow it down and we did that and we wanted to make sure we got layups or open shots and we took a bad shot to start with and it all went downhill after that.”

Freshman Elijah Cuffee led the charge for the Dots with team highs in points (19), rebounds (six), assists (eight), and steals (five). Noah Frampton finished with 18 points with Matt Chandler adding 13 and Kaden Meeks 12 off the bench. Luke Frampton had nine points and added seven assists.

For the game, the Dots hit a sizzling 33-for-49 shots from the field for 67.3 percent.

The Tigers and Grizzlies did not play each other this season but met twice last year. It ended up in a split as each team won on their home floor.

In last year’s 14-10 season, Chapmanville beat Nicholas County, 80-54 at home and then lost later in the season on the road, 68-59. Most of the Grizzlies’ team from last year has returned.

Chapmanville advanced to the regionals with a 48-44 win over Mingo Central in last week’s sectional semifinals at Logan and the sectional title game win over Scott.

The championship game ended in dramatic fashion.

Down 54-51 Scott’s Logan Webb attempted a possible game-tying 3-pointer from the corner in the final seconds. Webb launched and it was good with 6.9 ticks showing on the clock. Scott fans and the scoreboard operator thought it was 3 and it looked like the game was tied 54-54.

With only a few seconds left, Chapmanville dribbled quickly down the floor and Butcher heaved up a 35-foot shot at the buzzer which rattled out as time expired.

But instead of overtime, the referees ruled Webb’s foot was on the line, nullifying the 3-pointer and giving the Tigers the 54-53 win.

The result was a bitter pill for many Scott fans to take. Some said Webb’s foot was behind the arc.

Others said he was over the line and the officials had ruled a two all along.

A video, made by a fan, has surfaced over the weekend and it does appear as if Webb’s foot was fully BEHIND the 3-point arc.

It looks like the scoreboard operator was right after all.

It’s looking more and more like the Chapmanville Tigers caught a major break.

If Webb’s shot had been ruled a 3 the game would have went to overtime. In the extra period anything could have happened.

The link for the video is as follows, courtesy of WV Metro News: http://instagram.com/p/lREl6SuAF-/#

Nonetheless, the regional final matchups are set and the Tigers are ready to defend their home court.

Ticket info

Advance tickets for Thursday’s Chapmanville-Nicholas County game will be on sale on Wednesday morning at Chapmanville Regional High School, CRHS Athletics Director George Barker said.

Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults.

Advance tickets will also be on sale on Thursday at CRHS and Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Harts Middle School.

All remaining tickets will be $7 at the door on Thursday night.

Game time is 7 p.m. on Thursday. The doors open at 5 p.m.

Barker said WVSSAC Courtesy Cards will be honored but to reserve your seat you must call the school at: 304-855-4522.