Catholic, South did us proud

One of my duties as the sports editor is to develop a weekly plan for staff members so they will know who is covering what game.

When an event like the state boys basketball tournament is taking place, I have to make educated guesses as to how far our local teams will go.

Upon seeing the pairings for the boys tournament, I made the calculated decisions that neither Parkersburg Catholic nor Parkersburg South would advance past the first round.

After all, the Crusaders were paired against No. 1 seed Wheeling Central and South was up against five-loss Hedgesville, with three of those losses coming to No. 1 Washington.

While both the Crusaders and the Patriots indeed lost in the opening round, both represented their schools and our community well.

Catholic, which had to win a pair of one-point victories just to get to Charleston, seemed overmatched against Wheeling Central.

But somebody forgot to tell the Crusaders that since West Virginia started seeding the state tournament, no No. 8 seed ever had beaten a No. 1 (just like no No. 16 seed ever has been a No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament).

Catholic, with nothing to lose other than a basketball game that all but those wearing Crusader uniforms figured they would lose and lose soundly, took it to Wheeling Central.

It was obvious early on this one was going to the wire. It did and then some. Catholic easily could have salted away the win both in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

But Wheeling Central, as it has a knack of doing, found a way to win one of the most exciting games in state tournament history.

Coach Rob Strcula’s team had to leave satisfied it had put up a valiant effort, yet disappointed it had come so close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in state tournament history.

Once the Crusaders and the Maroon Knights left the court, it was time for the Parkersburg South vs. Hedgesville game.

Had Yogi Berra have been there, he likely would have commented, “It was like deja vu all over again.”

Once again, an underdog team from Parkersburg was overachieving and taking it to a favored and more individually talented opponent.

Once again, the game went down to the wire and once again our local representative came up just short.

To give some task everything you’ve got and come so close is a devastating feeling. There’s no high in sports that’s as exhilarating as the lows are depressing. Tournament losses are especially bitter because it means your season, sometimes even your athletic career, has ended, and you weren’t able to accomplish the goal for which you have worked for so long.

Yet, there is no disgrace in defeat as long as you give it your all, which both Catholic and South did.

We would have loved to add a couple state titles to the more than 200 won by our city’s high schools, but that didn’t happen.

But give our local teams credit.

Even in defeat, they may have overachieved.

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com