CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Starting March 13, the boys state high school basketball tournament will take place for the 100th time.
With that in mind, the Secondary School Activities Commission has been busy in recent months.
Among the SSAC's plans to mark the occasion are a banquet on March 12, the publication of a pictorial history to include photos of all 229 state championship teams, the showing of news footage of 45 tournaments, the unveiling of a commemorative logo, the display of photos and memorabilia and the recognition of former players, coaches, officials and cheerleaders.
The tournament is scheduled for March 13-16 at the Charleston Civic Center.
Amid all the festivities, however, the playing of the 100th tournament itself will not be overlooked.
"For those 24 boys basketball teams that will show up for this year's event, they're really not going to be caring too much about the previous 99 years because this is their event,'' said Butch Powell, assistant executive director of the SSAC, at a Thursday morning press conference at the Civic Center. "So we didn't want to do anything to disrupt the state tournament for those young men.''
The most challenging project was finding team photos for 99 years of champions, a list that includes such long-forgotten schools such as Burnsville, Wallace, Parsons, Pax and others.
As of Thursday morning, 228 of the 229 had been uncovered, leaving only the 1917 Parkersburg champs, but Powell said he fully expects to find the Big Reds photo when he visits the Wood County Board of Education office today.
The pictorial history, which also will include stories on such Cinderella teams as the 1930 Hundred Hornets and the 1945 Normantown Vikings, will be given to attendees of the March 12 banquet and will be sold at the Civic Center during the tournament.
The banquet, scheduled for the Civic Center, is expected to draw 2,000 people, said Fred Persinger, a longtime sportscaster who worked with the SSAC in planning the event.