Change is coming next season when the 2020-21 basketball season tips off in the state of West Virginia.
Next season beings a new era for the Chapmanville Regional High School basketball team and for prep hoops in West Virginia as the WVSSAC moves to a two-year, four class pilot program, the first time the Mountain State has ever had four classes.
Chapmanville will remain in the Class AA ranks and will have a new three-team sectional with Mingo Central and Liberty Raleigh.
Opposite CRHS in Region 3 Section 1 are Bluefield, Summers County and Wyoming East.
A total of 24 teams are in Class AA across the state, many of which had been longtime Single-A schools.
In Region 4 are: Buffalo, Poca and Huntington St. Joe in Section 1; and Charleston Catholic, Ravenswood and Roane County in Section 2.
Region 1 consists of: Magnolia, Ritchie County and St. Marys in Section 1; and Parkersburg Catholic, Williamstown and Wirt County in Section 2.
In Region 2 are: Frankfort, Moorefield and Petersburg in Section 1; and Braxton County, Clay County and South Harrison in Section 2.
CRHS coach Brad Napier said next year will be different.
“It’s not something that we are used to,” Napier said. “A lot of the historical rivals that we’ve had over the years we will still play but we aren’t going to play them in the sectional or the regional. It’s a whole different region and a whole different section. But we will still be in a pretty tough region. You won’t have to play as many games to make it to the state tournament, so that will be different as well.”
Napier said he’s not sure how things will play out in the four-class system.
“It’s going to be different,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how it all plays out and see how it goes for two years in this trial run. You won’t know until the the two years are up if you like it or not.”
Chapmanville and Mingo Central will carry over as sectional rivals. Liberty Raleigh will be the new kid on the block.
The three teams in each sectional will be seeded with the No. 1-ranked team getting the first round bye. The 2/3 teams would play a first round game and then play the top seed in the finals.
“You could be the number one seed and theoretically win two games and make it to the state tournament,” Napier said. “The regionals will stay the same with the two regional winners going to the state tournament. Poca, a Cardinal Conference team, will be in our regional along with Bluefield and Summers County. Right now, Poca would probably be the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing with the amount of talent and experience that they have coming back.”
Chapmanville won this year’s Class AA Region 4 Section 2 title for the fifth straight year and the third straight over arch rival Logan. The Tigers defeated the Wildcats 57-51 in the finals atop Miner Mountain at Mingo Central High School.
It was the last year for the six-team sectional format comprised of Chapmanville, Logan, Man, Mingo Central, Scott and Lincoln County.
Logan, Scott and Lincoln County all move to Class AAA ball next hoop season in basketball only, while Man drops to Single-A in all sports.
This season ended up being a bust for the Tigers as the COVID-19 outbreak ended up putting a halt to the 2019-20 roundball campaign.
Chapmanville had made it as far as the Class AA Region 4 co-championship game and were gunning for a historic three-peat state championship.
The No. 1-ranked Tigers (22-2) were slated to host Winfield (10-14) in the regionals and were expected to beat the Generals and grab the top seed for the state tournament back in March.
Chapmanville had beaten Fairmont Senior in each of the last two Class AA state championship games and were the 2017 state runner-ups.
The season shutdown was most disappointing for Chapmanville’s four seniors players — Obinna Killen, Philip Mullins, Andrew Shull and Chase Berry — who never got an opportunity to hit the Charleston Coliseum hardwood one last time.
Killen, a First-Team All-Stater and third in the voting for the Bill Evans Player of the Year Award, is heading to Marshall University to play college ball.
Shull is going to play at the University of Rio Grande, while Mullins is WVU Tech bound.
The COVID-19 outbreak also canceled all spring sports this year and with it saw the following state tournament dates wiped out: tennis (May 14-16), track (May 22-23), softball (May 27-28) and baseball (June 4-6).
The state track meet, which first began in 1914, had only been called off once before — in 1917 due to World War I. The boys state basketball tournament also started in 1914 and had never missed a season until this year.
Football practice for state schools is set to begin on Aug. 3 and the season is scheduled to open the weekend of Aug. 27-28. Like football, practices are set to open on Aug. 3 for other fall sports such as cheerleading, cross country, golf and soccer.
West Virginia’s three-week summer practice period is set for July 6-25.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at email@example.com.