Timing is everything in sports.
And so it has been with the St. Albans Shootout, which begins its 10th year of bringing together the state's top girls high school basketball teams and players.
This year's edition, in which 38 schools will play 83 games in two days at four locations in St. Albans, begins its two-day run Tuesday. Admission is $3 per person for each day's session of games. (See Page 2B for schedule.)
The Shootout owes its durability to its unique positioning at the end of the three-week summer practice period, which runs June 11-29.
"It comes at the right time at the end of the three-week period,'' said St. Albans coach and Shootout organizer Scott James.
"All the coaches are putting together the Xs and Os and get to see how they're coming along and what they need to work on. It allows [coaches] to tie everything together that we've worked on during this three-week period.''
St. Joseph, the four-time Class A defending state champion, is the only reigning state titlist participating in the Shootout, but there are plenty of elite teams in the event.
George Washington, Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg South, Princeton, Spring Valley and Wheeling Park are the top AAA teams. GW advanced to the state semifinals this past season while Huntington and Morgantown made the final eight.
Chapmanville, Clay County, PikeView, Scott and Tolsia highlight the AA field. Scott has lost in the title game the past three years while PikeView and Clay also earned state berths this season. Buffalo, Charleston Catholic, Parkersburg Catholic and Pocahontas County are the top teams in Class A. Charleston Catholic and Pocahontas were state tournament qualifiers.
"We've got some great teams and some great matchups both days,'' James said. "We've got a strong double-A and a strong single-A field.