This week in MOV athletics
Between the high school girls’ basketball state tournament, boys’ basketball regional action and preparing for interviews for the Spring Tab, this is one of the busiest weeks of the year for your News and Sentinel sports staff.
So, let’s waste no time jumping right into the action.
A bit of city sports history begins our look ahead for the week of March 4-10. When Parkersburg South, Parkersburg High and Parkersburg Catholic girls’ basketball teams take the court for opening state tournament games at the Charleston Civic Center, the occasion will mark the first time all three city teams have made the state tournament in the same year.
It is actually quite remarkable this has never happened before if you think about it. We have a rich tradition of great ladies’ teams at those three schools, but this provides an example of how hard it is to advance to Charleston.
Scott Cozzens’ Big Reds faceoff against a tournament staple the last few years in Martinsburg. Most see the Eastern Panhandle school as a football power, but if memory serves I believe this is the fourth year in a row the Bulldogs are dancing.
Game time is 7:15 p.m. Thursday.
Make sure to keep an eye out for my preview later in the week. I talked to Martinsburg Head Coach Kyle Triggs at the WVSSAC office and Cozzens later in the evening on Sunday.
Parkersburg South takes on one of the few newcomers to the Class AAA field this year in Woodrow Wilson. The Patriots and Flying Eagles kickoff the AAA slate at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Patriots and Big Reds are two of the few teams I believe have a chance to shut down Buckhannon-Upshur if they make it to the state championship game.
What’s is that I hear?
Can’t both these teams make it to the last game of the season?
The way the seeding worked out South and PHS may face each other in the semifinals with a trip to play for a title on the line.
Talk about adding fuel to the fire.
Jay W. Bennett’s South preview will be in Wednesday morning’s paper.
Meanwhile, Parkersburg Catholic makes their first appearance since 2009 when Marty Vierheller’s team squares off with Summers County at 9 p.m. Thursday.
Catholic hasn’t dropped a single contest this season and hopes to keep the good feelings going all the way to Saturday. Vierheller’s young squad gets tested right out of the gate against a Summers County team in the field for a third year in a row. Chad Meador’s Bobcats made it to the second round of the tournament last season before bowing out to eventual champion Huntington St. Joe.
Steve Hemmelgarn has more to say on this game later in the week.
Magnolia joins the three Parkersburg teams after they downed Cameron in a Class A Region 1 co-final last Wednesday.
I am pretty excited to see Meredith Pilant’s young Blue Eagles’ team led by freshman Mady Winters and sophomore Kyndra Pilant. Watching Pilant and Tucker County’s Sydney Nestor battle in the first round should be a real treat.
While the girls field is settled, the boys field will be determined after this week.
Six local teams have the opportunity to end the year at the state’s capital.
The action begins with Class AAA at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
A sixth straight state tournament appearance is on the line for Parkersburg South when it faces Hurricane inside the Rod Oldham Athletic Center. It is a rematch of last year’s regional co-final won by the Patriots.
Speaking of rematches, Jeff Mennillo’s Parkersburg High squad travels to Huntington for a date with the Highlanders.
PHS gave everything they had last season before a 82-80 heartbreaking loss.
The two teams have faced off once this year already, a 74-47 win for the Highlanders, but I wouldn’t base your expectations for this game off the earlier contest. PHS was working in new people at some crucial positions, and were without the services of top-notch defender Seth Dailey in the Dec. 15 matchup.
Not to mention, PHS has been up to the challenge when facing some of the top teams in the state this season since everyone got on the same page. The Big Reds own three wins over Top 10 teams and played South, another Top 5 team, close in all three meetings.
While we are talking about close games, Ravenswood needed overtime against Parkersburg Catholic but earned a home matchup against Van in Class A, Region IV.
Single A games get underway at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Funny I should mention Tug Valley because this is who Rob Strcula’s Crusaders must best on the road if they hope to punch their ticket to Charleston.
Lastly, Tyler Consolidated and St. Marys both hope to come out of Region I, but the task isn’t easy for either team.
Rick Leach’s Silver Knights meet Cameron in Kidwell, while Mark Barnhart’s Blue Devils travel to No. 2 Wheeling Central.
Over in Ohio, the Waterford girls team can earn a ticket to a fourth straight state tournament with two wins.
Undefeated Portsmouth Notre Dame stands in the way of the Wildcats and a regional final.
Jerry Close’s team plays at 7 p.m. Thursday in Jackson, Ohio.
As mentioned above, we are hard at work on our annual Spring Sports Tab, which hits newsstands in a few weeks.
Contact Joe Albright at firstname.lastname@example.org.