By Paul Adkins Sports Editor
March 18, 2014
CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Tigers have never done this before.
They have never been to the West Virginia state boys’ basketball tournament.
Chapmanville Regional High School, however, will step onto the Charleston Civic Center floor on Wednesday morning for a Class AA state quarterfinal game against Bluefield.
The 9:30 a.m. contest between the Tigers and the Beavers will tip off the entire state tournament.
Chapmanville comes into the game 20-5 and the No. 6 seed. Bluefield, the defending state champions, are 22-2 and the third seed.
Undefeated Robert C. Byrd (21-0) grabbed the No. 1 seed. RCB, also the No. 1-ranked Class AA team in the state, is scheduled to open state play on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. against No. 8 East Fairmont (11-13). RCB beat East Fairmont, 69-55, during the regular season.
In the other two state quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Poca (24-1) takes on No. 7 Fairmont Senior (15-9) at 1 p.m. Poca, a Cardinal Conference member along with Chapmanville, beat the Tigers twice this season by 53-43 and 68-35 scores. The two could meet in Friday’s semifinals since the Tigers and Dots are in the same part of the bracket.
In the other state quarterfinal, No. 4 Westside (19-6) takes on No. 5 Bridgeport (18-7) at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
The Chapmanville-Bluefield winner is set to take on the Poca/Fairmont Senior winner on Friday at 9:30 a.m.
The 2A state championship game is March 22 at noon at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Bluefield Beavers are a tough draw for Chapmanville.
Bluefield advanced to state with last Thursday night’s 77-67 victory over Wyoming East in its regional co-championship game. The Beavers are riding a 15-game winning streak going into state.
Bluefield’s last loss was a 62-57 setback on Jan. 27 to state tourney team Westside. The Beavers also lost 67-51 at Greenbrier East on Jan. 10.
The Beavers won last year’s 2A state championship with a 63-43 win over Fairmont.
Bluefield was 25-3 last season and sports a 47-5 record the last two combined.
Chapmanville goes to state for the first time in school history. Chapmanville Tigers’ basketball dates all the way back to the 1930s.
The Tigers advanced with last Thursday night’s 44-41 win in a thriller over Nicholas County at home. Junior guard Josh Butcher netted the game-winning shot — a 3-pointer — with two seconds left on the clock.
Chapmanville will go into the game as decided underdogs but the players are excited to go to state and give it their best shot.
CRHS last played on the Civic Center floor back in December when Chapmanville thrashed North Marion 72-43 in the Hoops Classic.
Butcher said the Tigers will give the Beavers their best shot.
“The floor is longer but the good thing is that we’re in shape,” Butcher said. “I believe that we can give anyone a run for their money. We may be the underdog but we are going to go into it and give 110 percent and give it all of our heart. Everyone in the state tournament will be tough. We’ll just have to go out and play our best.”
Butcher came to Chapmanville from Riverside High School and he said he has been welcomed warmly by the student body. He led the Tigers this season in scoring at 17 points a game and was third in the Cardinal Conference.
“I’ve been very welcomed,” Butcher said. “The people are great here in Logan County and Chapmanville. I’m proud to be a Tiger.”
Senior Brady Cox said state tournament competition is always tough. Cox has played in state play in baseball when the Tigers won the 2011 Class AA state championship, and also football were the Tigers reached the Class AA state semifinals that fall.
“It will be tough no doubt, just like any state tournament is,” Cox said. “But I think that we can go up there and definitely compete. We can beat anybody on our schedule. We are a lot better team that everyone thinks we are. We have already played on that floor this year. I think that we play pretty well on bigger floors.”
Junior forward Zac Casto said he is honored to play in the state tournament and represent the Orange and Black.
“We have to work hard and concentrate,” Casto said. “The competition will be tough at state. It’s the state tournament. It’s going to be a big game but we have played there before and I’m honored to play there.”
Kenny Plumley, a senior forward, said there’s no reason the Tigers can’t make a run given the difficulty of Chapmanville’s schedule this season.
“We’ve played some tough games,” Plumley said. “We’re going to the state tournament, so we might as well go win it all now. We like the floor up there at the Civic Center. It’s big and it’s wide and we played very well there. I think we played one of our best games up there and we hope to play real well again.”
Reserve senior player Jon Williamson said there are no slouches in the state tourney field.
“You are not going to run into a bad team up there in the state tournament,” Williamson said. “We’re in the top eight and we’re ready.”
Chapmanville junior point guard Trey Dalton said the Tigers are not just happy to be there. They want to go all the way.
“I’m honored to be the first group ever to do it. We are going up there to win some games. Our goal is to win the state title not just to get there,” Dalton said. “It feels good but we need to go and win the state title to get over this hump. It’s great to get there but we still have things to do. I think that we’ve got a good shot. We just have to go and play hard. Coach always says that we play better on a bigger floor and the Civic Center floor is 10 feet bigger. I think that we’ve got a good shot — just as good as anybody there.”
Dalton said it’s good to finally get Chapmanville in the state tourney. Many other Chapmanville athletic programs have tasted success in the past, most notably the baseball and girls’ softball teams, and he said he is glad Chapmanville basketball is finally getting the credit it deserves.
“We took it to heart,” Dalton said after last Thursday night’s win. “Everyone had made fun of us for never making it to the state tournament. We have all of the softball and baseball state championship pictures on the wall. We want a basketball picture up there. Now, we’re going to the state tournament, so let us do our thing there.”
Tackett said since the Tigers already have Civic Center floor experience this season that should help on Wednesday morning.
“For us, looking back on when we played there, I think that we played pretty well,” Tackett said. “We didn’t play a bad team. I hope we can play well again when we go back there.”
Reserve player Trevor Nagy said Coach Allan Hatcher’s goal at the beginning of the season was to get the Tigers in the state tournament.
“That’s been our only goal,” Nagy said. “I think that we can play with anybody.”
The Beavers have been a state powerhouse basketball program for decades.
Bluefield will be looking for consecutive state titles for the second time in school history. The Beavers won crowns in 1995-96.
Bluefield had been seeded first the last two tourneys, winning it all last March, and falling to Tug Valley in the championship game in 2012.
In the regional win over Wyoming East, Bluefield seniors Anthony Eades, Lykel Collier, D.J. Edwards and Michael Yost led the way.
Eades pumped in 30 points, while Collier scored 21. Edwards added 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Yost held Wyoming East’s top scorer to one field goal before fouling out in the last minute of action.
— Advance tickets for Chapmanville’s state tourney game are on sale on Tuesday at CRHS. The prices are $6 for students and $8 for adults.
There will also be a pep rally at noon on Tuesday at the Chapmanville gym.
On Wednesday morning, there will be fan buses headed to the game.
— Look for more on the Chapmanville-Bluefield game in Wednesday’s Logan Banner print edition and on line at: www.loganbanner.com.
Class AA State Championship
Games Since 2000:
2013: Bluefield 63, Fairmont 43
2012: Tug Valley 58, Bluefield 52
2011: Oak Hill 57, Scott 48
2010: Oak Hill 55, Wyoming East 45
2009: Ravenswood 62, Wyoming East 52
2008: Wyoming East 50, Ravenswood 48
2007: Wyoming East 61, Logan 49
2006: Ravenswood 51, Bluefield 43
2005: Logan 60, Westside 56
2004: Winfield 53, Lincoln 52 (OT)
2003: Magnolia 61, Oak Hill 48
2002: Wyoming East 72, Poca 62
2001: Bridgeport 68, Tug Valley 57
2000: Magnolia 52, Independence 48