The Man Hillbillies are going to the Big Dance.
The Class A No. 1-ranked Man High School boys’ basketball team bounced back from last week’s sectional finals loss to Tug Valley by topping Wahama, 64-51, in Wednesdays night’s Region 4 co-final, punching a ticket to this week’s state tournament at the Charleston Coliseum.
Man (13-2) earned the top seed for the Class A state tournament and is scheduled to open play on Tuesday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m. against Tucker County (12-5).
Tug Valley (12-2), which had a walkover in its scheduled regional game with Gilmer County, is the No. 2 seed and since the Billies and Panthers are on opposite sides of the bracket, could meet again in the Class A state championship game, set for Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m.
The Panthers are set to play No. 7 seed Cameron (12-4) on Tuesday at 1 p.m..
Man and Tug Valley split during the season with the Billies overwhelming the Panthers, 85-56, at home but then falling 53-50 in the sectional finals at Logan.
Man is making its first trip to the state tournament since 2012.
The Billies outscored the White Falcons 26-9 in the third quarter to pull away, taking a commanding 56-33 lead, however, Wahama (7-12) got back to within 60-50 with a 17-4 run but could get no closer.
Man had led just 30-24 at halftime.
The Billies’ 6-foot-7 junior center Austin Ball led all scorers with 23 points. Caleb Blevins tallied 15 points, while Jackson Tackett had nine. Jeremiah Harless had eight and team-highs in rebounds with 11, assists with eight and steals with three.
Ryan Cozart added five points for Man, while Christian Toler had three.
Josiah Lloyd paced Wahama with 15 points, including three makes from beyond the 3-point arc. Sawyer VanMatre had a double-double with 13 points and 13 boards. Bryce Zuspan netted 10 points.
Wahama out-rebounded Man 42-35.
Man was 28 of 65 shooting from the floor for 43.1 percent. The White Falcons made 19 of 64 of their field goals for 29.7 percent. The Billies were 7 of 24 (29.2 percent) from 3-point land. Wahama made 8 of 21 (38.1 percent) of its 3-balls.
The Billies had just three free throw attempts, making one. Wahama was 5 of 9 from the foul line.
In other Class A state tourney quarterfinals on Tuesday, No. 3 Pendleton County (15-0) takes on No. 6 Greenbrier West (11-7) at 9:30 a.m., and No. 4 Webster County (11-6) squares off with No. 5 Clay-Battelle (15-2) at 9 p.m.
A Man win over Tucker County would put the Billies into Thursday’s semifinals against the Webster County/Clay-Battelle winner at 7:15 p.m.
If Tug Valley beats Cameron, the Panthers would play either Pendleton County or Greenbrier West on Thursday at 11:15 a.m.