MAN — There may be an opportunity here for the Man High School girls’ basketball team.
The Lady Billies come into this week’s Class A sectional tourney with a 9-11 record and riding a three-game winning streak.
The Lady Billies, which played in the Class A state tournament last season and was routed by No. 1 Huntington St. Joe, have won four out of their last five games heading into post-season play.
With a weak field in the sectional tourney, Man could advance.
Only No. 1 seed Sherman has a winning record and the Lady Billies ended up splitting with the Tide this season in two meetings.
Sectional tourney play was scheduled to start on Monday. Man got a bye and will play on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against the winner of the Tug Valley-Montcalm game. Since the Man boys are playing Chapmanville on Tuesday at the Man Memorial Fieldhouse, the Lady Billies’ sectional game will be played at the Man Middle School gym.
Tug Valley (6-11) hosted Montcalm (1-14) on Monday at 7 p.m. in the sectional opener. Van (6-12) hosted Greater Beckley Christian (4-11) on Monday.
Sherman (10-8) received the No. 1 seed and also got a bye. The Tide are slated to host the GBC-Van winner on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The two winners are set to meet on Friday at 7 p.m. in the sectional finals at the home of the highest remaining seeds. Both teams then advance to the regional tourney.
Man split with Sherman this season, winning 45-36 at Seth and falling 55-47 at home.
Man’s potential sectional foe, Tug Valley, also split with the Lady Billies this season, losing 52-46 at Naugatuck and then winning 71-67 late in the season at Man over the MHS girls.
Lady Billies’ coach Tonia Ward said she hopes her team is peaking at the right time.
“We have won three games in a row and we are working hard and good as a team,” Ward said. “We hope we can continue to win and get better here at tournament time. We beat a good Buffalo team on the road last week and won at Greater Beckley Christian and then closed out the regular season with a victory over River View. I’m really pleased with the way the girls have played but we still have to strive to get better.”
Man is led by senior Morgan Conn.
“We have more than one good shooter and the girls are running the floor well,” Ward said. “Morgan Conn is our senior leader. She runs the point, is a very good shooter and takes the ball to the basket. Plus she plays hard on defense as well. She is just an all-around ballplayer and one of the best that I have coached here at Man in my 21 years. We are really going to miss her next year. She is 70 points away from the 1,000-point club.”
Ward said Conn would have reached the 1,000-point mark if she had not been injured last year. Man also didn’t get to make up the Williamstown game but she still has a chance of breaking the plateau if the Lady Billies go deep into post-season play.
The Lady Billies also have junior Mika McCoy as well as Hannah and Hunter Harvey, senior Tessa Mullins and Courtney Hinkle.
“McCoy is a good shooter and scores for us and will be counted on highly to rebound for us,” Ward said. “Hannah Harvey is another big key to our success. She is a very good rebounder and excellent inside. Freshman Hunter Harvey can also shoot the basketball and handles the ball well. Freshman Haylee Daniels is probably our most improved player and gives us a lift at times. We have Tessa Mullins and Courtney Hinkle coming off the bench for us and both are good rebounders.”
Man had an inside presence with Tiffany Belcher but she has been out with a knee injury and hasn’t played in weeks. It’s not known if she will be able to return for the post-season.
Ward said her team has improved this season.
“We started out slow but we progressed as the season went on,” she said. “It just took a little time as the girls just needed playing time together with two freshmen coming over from Man Middle in Harvey and Daniels. I think we will be OK. We have to play team ball.”
Class A Girls
Region 3 Section 1
Monday: Greater Beckley Christian at Van, 7 p.m. Montcalm at Tug Valley, 7 p.m.
Tuesday: Greater Beckley Christian-Van winner at Sherman, 7 p.m.; Montcalm-Tug Valley winner at Man, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 28: Winners at highest remaining seed, 7 p.m.
Region 3 Section 2
At WVU Tech, Montgomery
Saturday: Greenbrier West vs. Valley Fayette, 6 p.m.; Midland Trail vs. Richwood, 8 p.m.
Tuesday: Fayetteville vs. Greenbrier West-Valley Fayette winner, 6 p.m.; Meadow Bridge vs. Midland Trail-Richwood winner, 8 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 28: Winners, 7 p.m.