CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- By definition, the 100th state tournament figures to be a memorable joyride at the Civic Center this week, but the division that could provide the most intrigue, surprisingly, is the Class A event.
Try these on for size:
Mark Winters of Magnolia, the leading scorer in West Virginia and a prime player of the year candidate, will be on hand with his 28.3 scoring average. Recently, he became just the 20th player in state history to surpass 2,000 career points.
Not one, but two defending state champions grace the Class A field - Charleston Catholic and Tug Valley. Tug won the AA title last year before dropping down a class and enters the tournament as the top seed in single-A.
The return of one of the state's storied coaches, Dave Barksdale, now an assistant to Dan Burd at Greater Beckley Christian. In 17 seasons at Woodrow Wilson, Barksdale carved out a 335-93 record, 11 state tourney trips and five AAA championships.
In essence, the Class A state tournament field could be summed up by an old wedding tradition:
Something old - Charleston Catholic and Wheeling Central have combined for 10 of the last 13 single-A titles; Tucker County competes in its 12th straight state tournament;
Something new - GBC appears in just its second-ever state tourney and the first since 2007; Notre Dame, an infrequent visitor to the Civic Center, hasn't won a state tournament game since 1989;
Something borrowed - Well, Tug Valley was confiscated from AA;
Something blue - Both Magnolia and Buffalo sport blue and gold uniforms.