The delayed 2021 high school basketball season, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has been a challenge for every student-athlete in the state of West Virginia.
Last week came some bad news out of Man.
Due to a lack of numbers, the Lady Billies will reportedly not be able to field a girls’ basketball team this season.
That’s disappointing to Man area basketball fans.
The Lady Billies, coached by Orlando Washington, were coming off last year’s 1-22 season and were hoping to make major strides of improvement this season.
Last year, Coach Washington came on late after the season had already tipped off following the sudden resignation of former coach Charlie Adkins. The Lady Billies ended up struggling all season and winning just one game.
Man has won just three games over the course of the last two seasons.
The Lady Billies were 2-21 two seasons ago.
Man lost its first 21 games last season before defeating Sherman, 48-38 in the regular season finale on February 19 at home. The win over the Tide broke a 25-game losing skid dating back to the previous season.
The Lady Billies then lost 68-41 to Lincoln County in the first round of the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 Tournament at Chapmanville.
The Lady Billies were to head back down to the Class A level this season after spending the last four years as a Double-A school and playing in a six team super sectional alongside county rivals Chapmanville and Logan and also Mingo Central, Scott and Lincoln County.
Man was to be placed in a new Single-A sectional this season with Tug Valley, Tolsia, Sherman and Van. Opposite in the other sectional and possible regional foes were Calhoun County, Gilmer County, Hannan and Wahama.
The WVSSAC moves to a new four-class format this season.
Man had been the smallest Double-A school in the state by enrollment the last four years and were the only school in the entire state to be raised up a class in classification from Class A to 2A.
Man had lost just two seniors to graduation in Karissa Anderson and Desiree Wise.
Seniors Jenna Mitchell and Shania Kennedy were to return as well as juniors Olivia Ramsey, Caleigh Brown and Macie Cline. Sophomores Kami Anderson and Tori Honaker were also players from last year’s team.
Coach Washington was unable to be reached for comment.
He had expressed optimism during the much delayed preseason. The season was delayed twice and had originally been scheduled to begin in early December. That was delayed until mid-January next and then to the first week of March.
“With any team that I coach or in any sport I expect improvement from the individuals that are playing,” Washington said during the preseason. “I expect a good work ethic and a commitment to improve themselves on and off the floor. I expect players to take pride in their academics and pride in what they are doing. Being positive and truly working as hard as you can is all any coach can ask for out of there players. It was an interesting season last year. Taking over a month in made last season very unique. I believe we have improved, but are still not were we need to be and the only way to get their is with continued work on the little things that will help individuals improve and the team.”
The Man girls were scheduled to open on March 8 at Tug Valley. The Lady Billies were then slated to play at Van on March 11 and at Tolsia on March 15.