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Chapmanville sticking to plan vs. Bluefield

By Terry Fletcher
Kyle Lovern
Kenny Plumley (22) is Chapmanville's second-leading scorer, averaging 12.4 points.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Chapmanville coach Allan Hatcher has been around long enough to know to stick with what works for you.

When his Tigers (20-5) take on defending state champion Bluefield in the Class AA quarterfinals of the West Virginia boys state high basketball tournament today at 9:30 a.m. at the Charleston Civic Center, Hatcher said they won't deviate from what they've done all season.

"We aren't going to change much," said Hatcher. "We've won 20 games and made it to the state tournament for the first time, so we must be doing something right."

Seeing as how the Tigers have won eight straight, it's hard to argue. Especially with a coach as battle-tested as Hatcher.

"I retired from coaching down in Kentucky and was lucky enough to take a number of teams to the state tournament there," said Hatcher. "But I am so thrilled to be able to take Chapmanville to the state tournament for the first time."

Chapmanville boasts the top scorer in the Cardinal Conference in Josh Butcher, who comes into the tournament averaging 17.3 points per contest. Kenny Plumley (12.4) and Brady Cox (10.0) are also averaging double figures in scoring for the Tigers.

"We've played a good schedule this year and it helped us establish eight or nine players," said Hatcher. "Obviously, we need those guys to perform."

Awaiting the Tigers in the first round are the defending champion Beavers, who are also on a long winning streak of 15 games.

Bluefield (22-2) is led by seniors Anthony Eades and Lykel Collier. Eades, a 6-foot-3 guard, comes in averaging 18.8 points per game, while Collier averages 12.4 points to go along with seven assists per game.

The Beavers, who have won their last four games by an average of 38 points, are looking to take another title.

"I think we are starting to hit our stride," said Bluefield coach Buster Large. "We've become very good defensively and we're looking to ride that momentum going into the tournament."

Part of the reason for the Beavers' success in recent weeks is that they are finally healthy. Senior Michael Yost is back from injury after missing most of the regular season and comes in averaging nine points per game.

"Michael missed a good part of the season, but he's a very good shooter from the outside and provides another scoring threat for us," said Large.

With Chapmanville in the hunt for its first state title, Large knows that emotions will be running high.

"We're up against a very talented basketball team and we know they're going to be very excited to be making their first appearance in the state tournament," said Large. "We're going to have to play good basketball for 32 minutes."


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