WEST UNION-No. 2 (Class A) St. Marys will be making an unprecedented sixth straight trip to the Little Kanawha Conference's championship game while No. 6 (Class AA) Clay County will be looking to end its four-game losing streak to the Blue Devils when the two teams meet at Doddridge County High School at 8 p.m. today in the Night of Champions.
"We are just very, very proud to be representing the North again this year," St. Marys head coach Howard Meeks III said. "With teams like Williamstown, Parkersburg Catholic and Ravenswood, it's not an easy task winning the North. So, to be able to represent our division for this many years is a tribute to our players, our coaches and our fans."
Words echoed by veteran Clay County head coach Mary Ramsey.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
St. Marys’ Tari Ashworth, left, and Ashley Hall battle Parkersburg Catholic’s Alexis Saunders for a rebound in a game earlier this season. St. Marys plays in tonight’s LKC championship game for the sixth straight year when it meets Clay County at Doddridge County High School.
"Representing the South for that many years is a big thing," Ramsey said. "It's never easy winning our division and this year was no exception."
It also hasn't been an easy task for the Panthers (16-3, 12-0 South) against St. Marys (18-0, 12-0 North).
"They (St. Marys) are always tough," continued Ramsey. "Any team you play from the North is going to be tough. We are just going to have to go out and play our game and see what happens."
The last four times, however, that has resulted in losses of 68-44 (2010), 93-73 (2011), 85-58 (2012) and 64-53 (2013).
"The games were never as easy as the scores make them look," said Meeks. "Clay is a very, very good team and we are going to have to play very well to come out with a win on Saturday."
If the game gets played.
"Right now, we've got about a foot of snow on the roads," Ramsey explained. "And, they are calling for more snow by Friday night, so we won't know until Saturday morning if we can even get out to play the game."
Should the Panthers make it to West Union they will have to wait for the conclusion of the opening contest featuring No. 3 (Class A) Gilmer County and No. 12 (Class AA) Ravenswood in the third place game as well as Top Gun and Foul Shooting competitions slated to take place between the two contests.
St. Marys is led by a trio of outstanding players in Kendra Walker (18.3 points per game), Ashley Hall (14.9) and Mikaela Britton (10.9) while Clay will counter with McKenzee Barker (13.5), and Katelyn Horrocks (11.6).
Barker and Walker were both selected to the all-LKC's first team a year ago.
The third place game also will have several players that could appear on the all-conference team when it is released. The Titans (15-4, 9-2 South) are led by returning all-LKC performer Julie Bishop (21.5 ppg) while Ravenswood (10-4, 7-3 North) is paced in scoring by second-team selection Hailey Miller (20.3).
Doors open at 4 p.m. with warmups for the first game begining at 4:50.
Tipoff of game one is slated for 5:15 p.m. with competitions in the Top Gun and Foul Shooting to begin around 6:45. The awards ceremony for both as well as the introduction of the league's scholar athletes is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. with the warmup for the championship game slated to begin 10 minutes later.
New champions in both the Top Gun and Foul Shooting will be crowned as Ravenswood's Taylor Youell (Top Gun) and Roane County's Taylor Bragg (Foul Shooting) have both graduated.