That’s all that separates the Chapmanville Regional High School basketball team from making history.
No. 10-ranked Chapmanville (17-7) is scheduled to play Sissonville (18-4) in Thursday night’s Class AA regional co-championship game for the right to play in the upcoming state tournament.
Tonight’s contest is to be played at neutral Riverside High School in Quincy.
Sissonville is technically the home team but its gym is too small to host a regional tourney game per WVSSAC rules.
The game is set for 7 p.m.
Sissonville advanced to the regional co-final after knocking off Poca, 50-42, last Friday night in the sectional championship game. Chapmanville lost to Tug Valley, 73-60, in its sectional title game at Logan but also moved on in the new playoff format.
That leaves the Tigers just one win away from making it to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
Chapmanville has come close over the years, most recently falling to Tug Valley and Logan in regional title games in the 1990s and 2000s under former coaches Danny Godby and Dave Elkins.
The Tigers are back in the regional finals, again just one step away from Charleston.
Despite last Friday’s loss to Tug Valley — the third defeat to the Panthers this season — Chapmanville is optimistic about tonight’s prospects. The Tigers and Indians split in two regular season meetings this year and shared the Cardinal Conference championship with identical 8-2 league marks.
“We’ve got one more,” Tigers’ first-year coach Harry Kirk said after the loss to Tug Valley last week. “We’ve still got a great opportunity if we can improve. We’ve got to regroup. The opportunity is still there. At least we are going to be playing on a neutral floor. It’s a team that we have split with in two games during the regular season. One of them was in overtime and the other was on a last-second shot on our floor. If we can get our heads up and kind of regroup this week we’ve got a real good shot.”
Making it to the state tourney would be a dream come true for the school, team and community.
“I told the kids that this school is 80-some years old and just think of all of the people that have walked through these doors and have gone to the state tournament,” Kirk said. “They have cheered for Harts or someone else local but they have never been able to cheer for the Orange and Black. That would be a very, very special thing if we could do that. The kids have to believe that and regroup. We’ve got one more game and the opportunity is still there.”
Despite the regular season split, Sissonville is a formidable foe.
Led by 6-foot-6 senior center Caleb Keller, the Indians are riding a 14-game winning streak heading into the game. Sissonville’s last loss was to the same Tiger team — on Jan. 16 at home — a game in which Chapmanville won 83-74 in overtime.
Keller tossed in 25 points and scored all of the Indians’ 10 first-quarter points in the victory over Poca. The Dots (15-9) play at Tug Valley (15-5) in tonight’s other Class AA regional co-final.
The Indians rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to beat the Dots.
Sissonville handed Chapmanville its first loss of the season on Jan. 19 with a 55-54 win over the Tigers at the CRHS gym. Chapmanville had started off the season with four straight wins. Lucas Walker supplied the same-winner for the Indians in that one as he drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 2.8 seconds left.
Todd Terry, Chapmanville’s 6-3 senior center, led Chapmanville with 21 points in the first meeting with the Indians. He fouled out with a little more than two minutes to go in the contest. Sophomore Matt Cook had nine points and two blocked shots, while Cliff Hall contributed eight points, six assists and three steals.
Keller had 18 points to lead the Indians. Cody Williams, a 6-4 senior forward, tossed in 15 points.
In the second meeting at Chapmanville, the Tigers got revenge on the Indians as Hall tipped in a shot the buzzer to force overtime. The Tigers then outscored the Indians 19-10 in the extra period to get the win.
Chapmanville played the game without seven players, who were given two-game suspensions for leaving the bench area in Chapmanville’s 96-91 loss at Logan on Jan. 12.
Terry paced the Tigers in the game with 19 points. Senior Bubba Conley had four points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots. Dustin Woody also poured in 21 points for the Tigers, while Hall had 14, Brooks Cooper 12 and Cook 10. Ethan Brumfield added five points for Chapmanville.
Keller poured in 34 points and hauled down 11 rebounds to lead the Indians.
Chapmanville led 18-14 at the half and went into the halftime tied with the Indians 32-32. Sissonville then outscored Chapmanville 20-18 in the third to take a 52-50 lead. The Tigers then outpointed the Indians 14-12 in the fourth to force overtime.
Tonight’s game is the rubber match – winner take all if you will – as the victor will advance to the state tournament, scheduled for March 17-20 at the Charleston Civic Center.
First-round Class AA state tournament games are scheduled to be played March 17 with the No. 3 seed taking on the No. 6 seed at 9:30 a.m. to start it off. The No. 2 vs. No. 7 game is set for 1 p.m., the No. 1 vs. No. 8 contest is slated to tip off at 5:30 p.m. and the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game is scheduled to be played at 9 p.m.
The semifinals are March 18 at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Class AA state championship game is set for March 19 at 12 p.m.
Sissonville began the season slowly with a 1-3 record, falling at Williamstown, 47-44, in the opener and also losing 70-46 to Ravenswood and 65-51 at Poca. The Indians have gone 17-1 since.