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Rematches rule the day in AAA regional co-finals

Chris Dorst
South Charleston coach Vic Herbert thinks Tuesday's Region 3 game against Greenbrier East will be "a nailbiter."

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha Valley teams hope to make the most of their second chances this week as the Class AAA boys basketball regionals are staged across the state.

For these games, however, revenge for a regular-season loss isn't the key motivator. A spot in the state tournament is.

Kanawha Valley teams compete on four fronts Tuesday in regional co-finals at South Charleston, Beckley, Hurricane and Huntington. All games tip off at 7 p.m.

  • South Charleston (22-2), the state's No. 3-ranked team, hosts No. 8 Greenbrier East (20-4) at the South Charleston Community Center in Region 3.
  • The other Region 3 co-final pits No. 2 Woodrow Wilson (20-4) against unranked Riverside (9-15) at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
  • One Region 4 contest finds Logan (8-16) visiting red-hot No. 10 Hurricane (19-5), which has won 11 of its last 12 games.
  • The other co-final in Region 4 has Nitro (11-13) traveling to No. 9 Huntington (18-5).
  • The four winners advance to the big show at the Charleston Civic Center from March 13-16, which marks the 100th state tournament in West Virginia.

    All four regional games represent rematches of regular-season meetings.

    South Charleston, in fact, drubbed Greenbrier East 67-41 just 11 days ago at the Community Center. Black Eagles coach Vic Herbert, however, isn't expecting anything easy on Tuesday.

    "Greenbrier East is loaded with talent,'' Herbert said. "They're athletic, they play hard and [coach Jim Justice] does a good job with them.

    "The reason we jumped on them when they were here was just because Coach Justice hadn't been here in this situation - at our place with a big crowd. A lot of their kids hadn't been here. It's kind of a new atmosphere. I guarantee you one thing: The second time around, it's not going to be 26 points. They're going to figure out what they need to do and it'll be a nailbiter because a lot's on the line to get to go to Charleston. I'm looking for a real tough game.''

    The Spartans were forced into 28 turnovers the last time, leading to several easy baskets for SC.

    Senior low post Hunter Moles, who has averaged 16 points over his last four games, doesn't think overconfidence has been a problem for the Black Eagles in the postseason.

    "You never want to get overconfident, that's for sure,'' Moles said.

    "You look at the last two games we've played - Capital and Riverside. We beat them twice [in the regular season] and we came out and we beat them a third time [by 32 and 30 points, respectively, in the sectionals]. That's what we're going to have to do. It's just the next step in going to states. You come out like it's the biggest game of the year and play as hard as we can.''

    Riverside took a whipping from Woodrow in their first meeting, losing 88-45 on Feb. 7 in Quincy.

    In that game, five Flying Eagles players tallied 13 or more points, led by Chase Hancock with 18.

    Woodrow Wilson totes a 16-game winning streak into the contest, and has been on fire since its first game against the Warriors. Starting with that Feb. 7 contest, the Flying Eagles have been lighting it up at a hair under 80 points per game over their last seven.

    Hurricane, coming off just its second winning season in 10 years, can make it all the way back with a victory Tuesday that would secure a state tournament berth. But the Redskins don't think it's going to come easily.

    "It's Logan,'' said Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland. "It's kind of that mental thing. If [our players] can get over the name, we'll be OK.

    "It's tournament time, and this is when Logan turns it up. They've gotten better. They knocked off Spring Valley [in the sectionals] and they played Huntington to a three-point game at halftime. They're fully capable. They've got the players, and they're starting to get it together at the right time.''

    The Redskins won at Logan 67-60, but that was way back on Dec. 11, nearly three months ago. In that game, Hurricane held on despite 29 percent shooting in the fourth quarter and 11 second-half turnovers.

    Nitro's already had one crack at Huntington and it didn't go too well, as the Wildcats lost at home 75-43 on Jan. 24.

    Chancelor Wooding led the Highlanders in that game with 18 points and Arick Nicks hit his first seven shots and finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks while playing about three quarters.

    For Nitro, senior guard Angelo Sirianni had 19 points against Huntington, but made only 6 of 23 shots.

    Class AA regional games are scheduled for Wednesday around the state and A regionals on Thursday.

    Tommy R. Atkinson contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.


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