The thud of the basketball could be heard across Logan County on Monday as practices began for high school girls’ hoop teams Man, Logan and Chapmanville.
Next Monday, Nov. 18, it’s the boys’ turn as practices are set to begin for the Tigers, Hillbillies and Wildcats.
The top headline for the upcoming 2019-20 hoops season in Logan County is Chapmanville Regional High School’s quest for a historic 3-peat.
No county basketball team, or any varsity sports team of any kind for that matter, has ever won three straight state championships.
The Tigers will be gunning for that this season.
“It’s been a long time since anyone has 3-peated in basketball,” Chapmanville coach Brad Napier said. “It would be really special to do that. This group of four kids that we have that are going to be seniors this year have been very successful on the basketball floor. I think that we have four really good leaders and we’ll see how far that we can go. I’m really excited about getting a chance to work with these guys and get back at it.”
Chapmanville has captured back-to-back Class AA state championships, going 53-3 over the last two seasons and defeating Fairmont Senior both years in the finals, 69-60 two years ago, and 60-46 last season.
Historically speaking, the closest county basketball team to 3-peat was Willie Akers’ Logan Wildcats, which captured back-to-back Class AAA state titles in 1977 and 1978 and came within a whisker of taking the 1979 title, losing 59-57 to Princeton in the state championship game.
On the softball diamond, the Man High School Lady Billies came very close to winning three straight state titles, taking Class A state crowns in 2008 and 2009, led by all-state pitcher Marlena Frye.
The 3-peat bid, however, was foiled in 2010 as Man lost to South Harrison, 8-7, in a nail-biting, extra-inning state championship game in Vienna.
The Tigers will also have two streaks that will still be alive when the basketball season tips off.
Chapmanville will have winning streaks of 48 against in-state competition dating back to 2017, and of 15 games in a row overall.
CRHS went 26-2 last year and 27-1 two seasons ago. The Tigers’ only losses last year were to powerhouse teams from Ohio and North Carolina.
Chapmanville will also be looking to make it to a fourth straight Class AA state championship game.
The Tigers were state runners-up in 2017, falling to Fairmont in the finals.
Chapmanville lost starters Devin Collins (6-8), Brandon Elkins (6-4) and Jordan Kish (6-5) from last year’s team. Collins now plays at Marshall, while Elkins is at Glenville State.
The Tigers have 6-9 rising senior and First-Team All-Stater Obinna Anochili-Killen back.
Killen, who has committed to Marshall, averaged 15.2 points a game last year but his rim protection and shot blocking ability on defense is his bread and butter.
Chapmanville also returns two other seniors next season — 6-3 guard/forward Philip Mullins and 6-0 guard Andrew Shull. Both were Honorable Mention All-State selections last year.
The Tigers are set to open the season on Dec. 14 in the Rock Hill, South Carolina, in the Battle of the Rock.
CRHS has its home opener Dec. 20-21 in the inaugural Country Roads Classic at Danny Godby Gymnasium, a new multi-team tournament.
Chapmanville also heads out of state for games in Pittsburgh and Bristol, Virginia.
The Chapmanville girls open the season on Dec. 3 at Herbert Hoover. The Lady Tigers were 18-6 last season were the regular season Cardinal Conference champions with a 12-1 league mark.
CRHS beat Logan 52-40 in the sectional championship game but were beaten 60-58 by Sissonville in the regional co-final at home.
The Logan High School boys are slated to open the season Dec. 10 at Herbert Hoover. The Cats were 20-5 last season, falling 68-55 to Chapmanville in the sectional finals and then getting upset 61-55 at Poca in the Class AA regional co-championship game.
The Wildcats are not scheduled to have a home game until Jan. 9 against Winfield.
The Cats play at Scott on Dec. 17, travel to the Smoky Mountain Shootout in Gatlinburg, Tennessee Dec. 19-21, then play Dec. 27-28 in Beckley in the Battle of The Armory. Logan travels to Mingo Central on Jan. 3, plays at Man on Jan. 4 and then heads to Wayne on Jan. 7.
The Logan girls open the season on Dec. 6 at home against Man. The Lady Cats were 15-10 last year, dropping a 42-33 regional game at Wayne.
The Man High School boys are slated to tip off the season on Dec. 12 at home against Mercer Christian. The Hillbillies were 10-13 last year, losing 84-46 to Lincoln County in the sectional tournament.
The Man girls have its first game on Dec. 3 at home against Westside. The Lady Billies struggled to a 2-21 season a year ago, losing 61-31 to Mingo Central in a first-round sectional tournament contest.
Paul Adkins is the sports editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner or email him at email@example.com.