Hoops still my favorite

Although our recent warm spell probably isn’t going to last, the good news is March is right around the corner.

As much as I like covering all the various sports throughout the calendar year, which always seems longer than 365 days, I still prefer watching basketball.

At least for me, there’s just something about the competition of five-on-five and it doesn’t matter if it’s girls or boys hoops.

I will say there is nothing worse than having to watch bad basketball being played badly. That is truly the worst, but one has to take the good with the ugly at times.

The last three basketball games I’ve taken in have been anything but bad or ugly and I feel represent what basketball fans probably can expect to see come tournament time.

Anyone who has followed the NCAA this year in Division I for the men know there are some pretty solid teams out there. However, trying to fill out a bracket this year and picking teams to make the Final Four is going to be anything but easy.

I suppose the same holds true for high school basketball teams. No one is expecting the St. Marys girls of head coach Howard Meeks to dethrone mighty Huntington St. Joseph as the Mountain State’s top Class A program, but that’s exactly what the Blue Devils have been working hard to achieve since before the start of the season.

The same holds true for the Parkersburg boys of Big Red head coach Jeff Mennillo, whose team put forth a gutsy effort Tuesday night to topple Huntington. The Highlanders came into the game ranked third in Class AAA.

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting the Big Reds to pull off the stunning upset, but then again that’s why they play the games.

Coach Mennillo’s wife Jill does the book for the Big Reds and I told her earlier in the season if this team could just put things together for 32 minutes they’d be pretty dangerous. I reckon my point of contention of what I thought was a correct assumption.

Sure, no one is going to see Parkersburg ranked in the top 10 of the Associated Press basketball poll anytime soon, but it’s good to see athletes come together as a cohesive unit, at least for one night, and understand they have the ability and capability to do things the coaching staff likely has told them about all season long.

During Saturday’s LKC Night of Champions at Doddridge County, one couldn’t have asked to watch a better game than Ravenswood’s overtime triumph against the Gilmer County girls.

On top of that, I hadn’t seen St. Marys since the season opener at Wirt County, but I was really impressed with the Blue Devils, especially how some of the younger players have matured this season. Their easy dismantling of a very solid Clay County team shouldn’t be taken lightly.

As much as I love hoops season, don’t forget the key wrestling regionals are this weekend.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com