Hoop and the harm

We’ve finally reached March, which is one of my favorite times of the year.

Basketball season is in its stretch run, spring training is well underway and here in the sports department things are staying pretty busy.

Not only is there a nice card shaping up for the Southside Rumble III, which is set for next Saturday night at the National Guard Armory, but 2009 Parkersburg South graduate Matt Tennant has a big opportunity coming up this Saturday.

Tennant will be making the trip to the Williamson Memorial Fieldhouse for an amateur MMA title fight against Cody Abbott of Logan.

The two are vying for the New Line Cagefighting bantamweight championship belt. Abbott enters with a 4-1 record with all four wins via submission. Tennant is 3-1 and has victories by TKO and submission along with a unanimous decision.

No matter the sport, it’s always good to see area guys — or girls — trying to do their best. Tennant is a prime example of that.

“It’s been nuts,” admitted Tennant, who ended his last 12-hour shift work duties on Wednesday. “I believe I’ve been training for this since December.

“Abbott is a submission guy. The only fight that I’ve watched of his was his most recent fight and he actually lost that fight.”

While Tennant has fought on Dawghouse Promotions cards before, that wasn’t possible this time around with his current opportunity at hand.

“I weigh-in at 3 p.m. and the medical check is at 5:30 p.m.,” Tennant said of having to do all that on Saturday. “Old (Mike) Sheppard had me spoiled doing the weigh-ins the day before.

“They (NLC) were talking about me fighting flyweight at 125 (pounds), but there’s no way unless it was the day before.”

Without question, Tennant is going into the belly of the beast with Abbott being the local favorite, but he said he’ll have Ryan Carroll and his fiancee Stephanie Grady in his corner. Both his dad and brother will be there to cheer him on.

“I definitely have to start off and establish dominance on my feet,” he said. “I think he thinks he’s going to walk right through me.

“I’m ranked No. 2 in West Virginia and he’s ranked No. 1 in our weight class. He’s definitely got quite the arrogant attitude about it.”

With tournament time in hoops here, a loss means it’s the end of the road and that was the case for Magnolia’s girls, who were upended 65-57 by Trinity in the Class A state quarterfinals on Wednesday in Charleston.

Despite the setback, kudos to Mady Winters for knocking down 20 of 23 field goals en route to a Blue Eagle school record 45 points.

I know she would’ve rather went scoreless and won the game, but she put herself into some elite company after passing Mallory Chapman’s 43 points she had versus Paden City in 2014.

Five years prior to that, ex-Blue Eagle Alycia Bell had the old MHS record of 41 points.