CHAPMANVILLE — Chapmanville Tigers’ basketball dates all the way back to 1930 and humble beginnings.
Never had the Orange and Black ever made it to the West Virginia High School Boys State Basketball Tournament.
Back in 1930, America was in the midst of the Great Depression following the Stock Market Crash the year before.
FDR and his New Deal had not yet been implemented and Roosevelt was still the Governor of New York.
The Mickey Mouse comic strip made its debut.
The “talkie” motion picture had just made its debut three years earlier with the movie “The Jazz Singer.” The silent movie era was soon to come to an end.
In 1930 the cost of a gallon of gas was only 10 cents. The average price of a new car was $640.
A loaf of bread cost nine cents.
A bottle of Coca-Cola was still a nickel.
The NCAA was still nine years away from holding its first ever collegiate national basketball tournament.
Eighty-five years is a long, long time.
That’s a long time to dream.
But those dreams finally came true on Thursday night at Chapmanville Regional High School’s Danny Godby Gymnasium as the Chapmanville Tigers reached the West Virginia Boys Basketball State Tournament for the first time ever.
The road to Charleston finally came into fruition for the Tigers, which defeated a stubborn Nicholas County team, 44-41, in Thursday night’s historic Class AA Region 4 co-championship game before an announced sellout crowd of 1,550 at CRHS.
Chapmanville had never hosted a regional championship on its home floor and the Tigers took full advantage by downing the Grizzlies in the finals to advance to next week’s Class AA state tournament, set to run March 19-22 at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Tigers won the game, billed as “the biggest basketball game in Chapmanville history,” in dramatic fashion.
With the contest tied at 41, Chapmanville 6-foot junior guard Josh Butcher, the Tigers’ leading scorer and bread-and-butter all season long, nailed a 3-pointer with two seconds left to give CRHS the win.
After Butcher’s shot fell through the net, a deafening roar swept across the gym. Nicholas County inbounded the ball and time ran out as hundreds of Chapmanville students and fans rushed the floor and swarmed celebrating Chapmanville players.
It was a satisfying win and feat for Chapmanville Tiger basketball, which finally got the proverbial monkey of their backs and got themselves off the schneid.
Chapmanville basketball over the years had been good, very good, but had never made it over the hump to play in the state boys’ tournament.
Often times, the Tigers fell short in the regional championship game.
In fact, since 1999, Chapmanville had been defeated in the regional title game eight times, leaving the Tigers one game short of the state tournament. Tug Valley and Logan provided most of those roadblocks.
The last time this happened was just a mere four years ago, when Chapmanville, then coached by Harry Kirk, fell short of Charleston with a 10-point loss to Sissonville in the Region 4 championship game.
Kirk was in attendance at the game along with many of the Tigers’ legendary former coaches, including Danny Godby and Ted Ellis.
All were there cheering for the Tigers to finally do it.
It was a sweet victory for Chapmanville basketball and the Chapmanville community but also for second-year head coach Allan Hatcher.
Hatcher is a legend in his own right, having once led Williamson High School to the state championship in West Virginia and having also led three Kentucky high school’s to the Bluegrass State’s version of March Madness with the Kentucky high school boys’ state tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Hatcher is an expert craftsman and knows how to put together a team and build a program.
Make no mistake about it.
Hatcher was brought to Chapmanville for one purpose.
And that was to get the Tigers over the hump and get them in the state tournament once and for all.
He did it.
The Tigers did it.
They did it together.
After the game, Chapmanville Athletics Director George Barker presented Hatcher with the game ball in the locker room. Hatcher put it away, presumably for his players to sign later as a showcase piece for the school’s trophy case.
It’s a piece of history.
A piece of Chapmanville Tiger history.
And a piece of the town’s history.
Nearly a century of frustrations went away on this one night.
“I’m ready to go to Charleston!” Hatcher exclaimed after the game in the locker room. “It feels great and I’m really happy for Chapmanville Regional High School and I’m really happy for the people of the community of Chapmanville. You saw some support tonight. What a homecourt advantage that we had. We didn’t play that well but we found a way to win the game.”
Butcher, the hero of the game, had 14 points for the Tigers. Kenny Plumley led Chapmanville with a 17-point effort.
“It feels great to go to the state tournament. I’m proud of the team,” Butcher said. “We came together and we bonded together at the best time possible.”
Butcher said it was a quest from Day One.
That quest, of course, was to make it to the state tournament and make history.
After a 14-10 season last year when the Tigers lost to Tolsia in the sectional tourney Chapmanville vowed to be back.
They sure did.
Chapmanville, now 20-5 on the season, started off the roundball campaign with a 9-1 record — the only loss coming to Butcher’s old Riverside team.
The hot start raised some eyebrows.
Would this be the team that finally is going to make it to the state tournament?
Or would the Chapmanville Tigers get snake-bitten again?
The Tigers answered that question on Thursday night.
“From Day One, coach stressed to us that if we were the tougher team or we had the stronger people that we would be able to make it to the state tournament. By golly, was he right!” Butcher said.
Added Plumley, “This is everything that we have worked for all year. Us seniors have been working for this for four years. Myself and Jonathan (Williamson) made a promise that when we went over to Riverside to watch Chapmanville play Sissonville in 2010 we would someday be going to Charleston. It feels really special to make history like we did.”
Chapmanville is scheduled to play next Wednesday in one of the four Class AA state quarterfinals at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Tigers’ opponent was not known as of late Thursday night after the ballgame.
The official seedings and state tourney brackets are expected to be released sometime on Friday morning by WV Metro News.
Also on Thursday night, the 24-1 and No. 2-ranked Poca Dots punched its ticket to the state tournament with a 64-22 rout over the Scott Skyhawks in the other Region 4 championship game.
Also advancing to the state tourney on Thursday were: Fairmont Senior, East Fairmont, Robert C. Byrd, Bridgeport, Bluefield and Westside.
Fairmont Senior beat Ravenswood 40-38 in its regional final while East Fairmont moved on with a narrow 70-68 victory over Roane County.
RCB prevailed 88-56 over Frankfort and the Bridgeport Indians advanced to state with a 58-55 victory over the Keyser Golden Tornado.
Bluefield won 77-67 over Wyoming East to move on, while the Westside Renegades advanced to the state tournament after downing Pikeview 57-47.
Chapmanville, ironically, has already played on the Civic Center floor this season. The Tigers won 72-43 over North Marion on Dec. 21 in the Big 10-Cardinal Conference Challenge as part of the annual Hoops Classic.
Look for much more in The Logan Banner’s Sunday print edition with game photos, a game recap, players and coach reaction and a look ahead to next week’s state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
Chapmanville Regional High School Tigers
2013-14 Boys’ Basketball Schedule (20-5):
Dec. 14: Liberty-Raleigh (Nationwide Classic), W 65-52
Dec. 17: at Herbert Hoover, W 59-40
Dec. 21: vs. North Marion (Hoops Classic, Charleston Civic Center), W 72-43
Dec. 23: Lincoln County, W 68-36
Dec. 27: Mount View (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), W 62-33
Dec. 28: Riverside (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), L 69-72 (OT)
Jan. 3: Scott, W 57-55
Jan. 14: Man, W 58-47
Jan. 15: at Mingo Central, W 53-27
Jan. 18: Sissonville, W 69-54
Jan. 24: Wayne, L 59-62 (OT)
Jan. 28: Herbert Hoover, W 47-34
Jan. 31: Tolsia, W 67-40
Feb. 1: Poca, L 43-53
Feb. 5: Mingo Central, W 54-45
Feb. 7: at Scott, L 67-73
Feb. 11: at Poca, L 35-68
Feb. 17: at Lincoln County, W 79-38
Feb. 21: at Wayne, W 68-42
Feb. 22: at Sissonville, W 61-39
Feb. 25: at Man, W 90-58
Feb. 26: at Tolsia, W 80-41
March 5: vs. Mingo Central (2A sectionals at Logan), W 48-44
March 7: vs. Scott (2A sectional finals at Logan), W 54-43
March 13: Nicholas County (2A regional co-final), W 44-41
March 19: vs. TBA (2A state tournament at Charleston), TBA