CHAPMANVILLE — Last season ended not how the Chapmanville Regional High School basketball team wanted it.
The Tigers were 22-2, ranked No. 1 in the state and were hoping to have a shot at winning a third straight Class AA state championship.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the season was halted and eventually shut down.
Chapmanville was to play Winfield (10-14) in last year’s regional final and were expected to be the top seed for the state tournament. The Tigers were a good bet to three-peat but never got a chance to defend their title.
Now we’ve come full circle.
And next Monday, basketball practices for the 2020-21 season are set to begin for Chapmanville and boys’ teams from across the state.
The landscape will be much different this time around.
Gone is graduated senior and All-Stater Obinna Killen, now a member of the Marshall University Thundering Herd squad and two other senior starters.
This year also marks the beginning of the new four-class format, which will run through the 2021-22 season.
Chapmanville stays in the Double-A 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.
“It’s going to be different,” Chapmanville coach Brad Napier 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. 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.”
The Tigers are slated to open the new season on Dec. 8 at Mingo Central.
The Tigers are not scheduled to play county rival Man this season but do have a home-and-away series with their other county rival, Class AAA Logan.
Chapmanville is set to host the Wildcats on Jan. 12, then play at Logan two weeks later on Jan. 26.
The Tigers and Hillbillies could meet, however, in the finals of Chapmanville’s annual Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament, set for Dec. 18-19 at CRHS, if both win opening round games.
Chapmanville is also set to play in Logan’s King Coal Classic on Dec. 29 at Willie Akers Arena.
CRHS squares off with Class AAAA South Charleston on Jan. 15 in the Tiger Shootout at Chapmanville.
Other highlights to the schedule are an away game at Huntington St. Joe and a home game against Nitro, a team that figures to be one of the top teams in the Cardinal Conference. The Tigers also host Poca, another top league contender and have a home-and-away with new regional foe Wyoming East.
CRHS expects to field a young team this year.
Starters Philip Mullins and Andrew Shull also both graduated as well as reserve Chase Berry.
“We’re going to be extremely young, ” Napier said. “But I think we have some talent. Guys just have to step up. We also have to find leadership too. We lost some great leaders from last year’s team, three great senior leaders, state have been in state tournament every year that they’ve played. We have to find leadership, whether it be from a freshman or a sophomore or a junior or whoever. That will be the key to our success.”
The Tigers started two freshman last season in 6-foot-4 Brody Dalton and 6-1 guard Isaiah Smith. Both are back as sophomores this season and will be looked upon to lead the team.
Colton Craddock, 6-1 junior, also returns.
2020-21 Chapmanville Regional High School Boys’ Basketball Schedule:
Dec. 8: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11: Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 18: Mount View (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), TBA
Dec. 19: vs. TBA (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), TBA
Dec. 29: vs. TBA (at King Coal Classic at Logan), TBA
Dec. 30: at Huntington St. Joe, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5: *Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8: *at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12: *Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15: South Charleston (Tiger Shootout at Chapmanville), 8 p.m.
Jan. 19: *Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22: *Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23: Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: *at Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29: *Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 2: at Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5: *at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 9: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 16: *Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17: Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20: at Liberty Raleigh, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 22: at Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
* Cardinal Conference game