Friday the 13th was not a good day for West Virginia high school basketball fans.
That was the day Governor Jim Justice announced that high school winter sports would be delayed and would not be allowed to resume until Jan. 11 due to COVID-19 issues and trying to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Additionally, Justice issued an executive order extending the closure of schools for the Thanksgiving holiday through Dec. 2 for both public and private schools in all 55 counties.
“From the standpoint of all our winter sports, we are moving all of our winter sports and we are not going to conduct any of our winter sports. They will all be postponed until January 11,” Justice said. “We all know that families are going to come together over Thanksgiving,” He said. “And as families come together, we all know the probability of more of a spread is right at our fingertips again.”
Justice said the fall seasons still in play, including the high school football playoffs, will be allowed to continue.
It was bad news for Logan County’s six varsity basketball teams which were hoping to get their seasons under way.
The Logan, Man and Chapmanville high school girls had already started practice on Monday, Nov. 9. Boys’ practices were originally slated to begin this Monday, Nov. 16.
The high school basketball season was cut short last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The girls’ state tournament was halted and never completed, while the boys’ state tournament never got started.
The Chapmanville Regional boys were 22-2 last March when everything got shut down. The Tigers were the two-time defending Class AA state champs and were ranked No. 1 in the state heading into their regional game with Winfield.
The Logan boys were 15-8 and never got to play its regional co-final game with the Poca Dots. The Wildcats were hoping to join Chapmanville in the state tourney.
Man was able to complete its season last year and closed out with an 18-6 record after falling to Chapmanville in the 2A sectionals.
Logan County’s three boys’ basketball coaches were all disappointed to hear the news.
“We were extremely disappointed to hear the news Friday that our season has been suspended,” Logan coach Zach Green said. “After the end of last season and now the start of this season, our kids are very discouraged. We hope that we have more clarity from the governor in the upcoming days. We have kids who have worked tirelessly for months to prepare for our season and now 60 days with no formal conditioning, training or guidance would really hurt our student-athletes. We understand that public safety is first but also want to insure that there is equality and fairness for our students athletes.”
Man coach T.J. Blevins did not like the timing of the governor’s announcement and had stronger words of disappointment.
“Man, I’m so pissed off,” Blevins said. “Just seems like he (Justice) was waiting until after the election to announce this. I’m waiting for someone to start the movement to the Capitol and I’m taking as many kids that wanna go with me. We have to get back to our lives. It should be up to the people on what they wanna do with their lives. I’ve said from the beginning of football if no teams have any cases on their team and the opponent doesn’t regardless of this goofy color code map they should be allowed to play with parents only and each person that comes in the games should have temps checked.
“Look at Georgia. One place goes five days a week all sports going and if anybody that catches it is sat out 10 days. Life has to go on.”
Chapmanville coach Brad Napier was a bit more guarded but said the delay will especially hurt his young team which is in a rebuilding mode this season anyway.
“All of our players and staff are upset but we also know we have to do what’s best for our entire community and the state,” Napier said. “Our hope is probably like everyone else’s that we get a vaccine and more treatments. I honestly think that is the only way we can get back to normal. This delay will really be hard on the team we have this year. Being such a young and inexperienced group we need all the practice we can get. We already missed the summer which has put us way behind. Combine that with a young team and a delayed start will make worse. But we will get in the gym whenever they open things up and work extremely hard at getting better every day. That’s all we can do at this point.”
Two Christmas-time tournaments have gotten the ax due to the delay.
Chapmanville was slated to host its annual four-team Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament, Dec. 18-19 at Danny Godby Gymnasium.
Logan was set to host its annual King Coal Classic Dec. 28-29. The tournament had been played in year’s past in late January but was moved up this year. Chapmanville and Man were also slated to play in the King Coal.
Napier said the Bob Runyon tourney is canceled as of now.
“Yes as of now,” he said. “We are going to have a meeting as a school this week and decide what we are going to do about scheduling.”
In addition to the King Coal, Logan’s games against Herbert Hoover (Dec. 8), Capital and George Washington (Dec. 18-19 in the GW Christmas Tournament), Lincoln County (Jan. 2) and Scott (Jan. 5) have been canceled.
Other than the Runyon tourney and the King Coal, Chapmanville’s games against Mingo Central (Dec. 8), Lincoln County (Dec. 11), Huntington St. Joe (Dec. 30), Poca (Jan. 5) and Winfield (Jan. 8) have been called off.
A number of Man games have also been canceled.
The Billies were to open on Dec. 11 at home against Buffalo.
Other Man games against Calhoun County (Dec. 16) and Mingo Central (Jan. 2) have also been canceled as well as games in Beckley’s New River Invitational on Jan. 4 and 9.
Man was originally scheduled to play Van and Logan in the King Coal Classic.
Several girls’ games have also been canceled leading up to Jan. 11.
The Chapmanville girls were slated to begin on Dec. 3 at home against Herbert Hoover.
Nine more Lady Tigers’ games have been canceled in the initial wipe out, including contests against Wayne (Dec. 7), Man (Dec. 10), Logan (Dec. 14), Lincoln County (Dec. 28), Mingo Central (Dec. 29), Summers County (Jan. 2), Nitro (Jan. 6) and Liberty Raleigh (Jan. 7).
Several Logan girls’ games have also been canceled due to the delay, including a home-and-away series against St. Albans (Dec. 21 and Jan. 9). St. Albans is coached by second-year mentor Shayna Gore, a Logan High School graduate and former Logan and Marshall University player. Gore played her high school ball for Logan coach Kevin Gertz.
The Lady Cats’ other canceled games include: Poca (Dec. 3), Herbert Hoover (Dec. 7), Scott (Dec. 10), Chapmanville (Dec. 14), Lincoln County (Dec. 17), Wayne (Dec. 23), Scott (Dec. 28), Shady Spring (Dec. 30), Man (Jan. 4) and Mingo Central (Jan. 8).
Eight Man High School girls’ games have initially been canceled, including: Tug Valley (Dec. 1), Westside (Dec. 3), Sherman (Dec. 7), Chapmanville (Dec. 10), Van (Dec. 14), Tolsia (Dec. 17), Logan (Jan. 4) and Van (Jan. 7).