CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Hometown Invitational Tournament had to change gears for its grand finale Thursday after a winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on some parts of West Virginia.
The fourth annual event featuring public schools around the state had to call off the three games being planned for tonight at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center, but is still hopeful of playing most of its Saturday lineup, including the Division 1 championship and third-place games involving local teams.
Valley (14-1), ranked No. 6 in Class A and riding a 10-game winning streak, takes on Clay-Battelle (12-5) in the title game at approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Cee-Bees have taken eight of their last nine.
Prior to that is the third-place game, set for 6 p.m., between Buffalo and Greenbrier West. (See complete schedule, Page 2B.)
The HIT was set to hold its three Division 2 games for smaller schools tonight, but had to scrub that notion after Thursday's snow. As of Thursday evening, tournament president Greg Crist was still expecting nearly all of Saturday's Division 1 card to remain intact.
The only exception was the 4:30 p.m. fifth-place game between St. Marys and Cameron, which was postponed. The teams still hope to play that game at a neutral site later in the season. Inserted into that spot of Saturday's schedule was the Division 2 championship between Paden City (10-6) and Meadow Bridge (8-6), originally set for tonight.
Of course, additional snow could put some of those games in jeopardy, too.
"We're supposed to get another round of snow,'' said Crist, who had between 16 and 17 inches piled up in his backyard in Fayette County. "But we've got some pretty good teams and some pretty good games going, especially starting in the afternoon session.''
The finale pits a pair of teams located 200 miles apart who actually know a little something about each other. Valley and C-B met in the HIT third-place game last year, won by the Cee-Bees 61-50.
Clay-Battelle's top two scorers from that game return in Tanner Bragg (who had 21 points on 8 of 10 shooting) and Zach Chisler (18 points). Chisler (15.0 ppg) leads the Cee-Bees in scoring this season, followed by Cannon Brummage (8.9), Tristan Haught (8.6) and Jarret Hockenberry (8.2).