CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One champion is chasing history while another is looking to build on its recent success.
St. Joseph, the four-time defending state champion in Class A, will be seeking a record-tying fifth straight title while Westside, the reigning AA state titlist, hopes to make it two in a row and avoid the one-year-wonder tag when the curtain is raised today on the 37th annual girls high school basketball state tournament.
The tourney tips off today with No. 3 St. Marys (23-1) facing No. 6 Tygarts Valley (17-7) at 9:30 a.m. in the Class A quarterfinals.
The AAA field is wide open after No. 1, undefeated and defending state champion Greenbrier East was upset in the regional co-finals.
That came at the hands of a plucky Capital squad (10-13), which is making its first appearance at states since 2002 when Alexis Hornbuckle and Renee Montgomery were leading the Cougars to their second of back-to-back state titles.
Capital, the only tournament participant with a losing record among the three classes, is also carrying the banner for the Kanawha Valley, which hasn't had a champion in six years.
The Cougars, seeded eighth, have a tall order in front of them, facing No. 1 Spring Valley at 7:15 p.m. today in the AAA quarterfinals. The Timberwolves handed Capital a 30-point loss (70-40) during the regular season.
Another Cinderella story is Valley (13-7), which last made it to Charleston in 1991. The No. 7 Greyhounds (13-7) take on perennial power and No. 2 Wheeling Central at 1 p.m. today in the Class A quarterfinals.