Rob Strcula, Fred Sauro coaching in North-South hoops’ games

File Photo Parkersburg South’s Sierra Hays is one of five local players playing in the North-South basketball games this weekend.

PARKERSBURG — Five players from the Mid-Ohio Valley along with a pair of coaches will represent the area during the annual North-South all-star basketball games.

The boys are in action this evening at the South Charleston Community Center.

Parkersburg Catholic head coach Rob Strcula will be joined by Lincoln’s Jordan Toth to coach the North boys, who feature Williamstown’s Cullen Cutright as well as former Tyler Consolidated teammates Griffin Phillips and Tyler West.

“I was very honored to be asked. It’s also humbling, so many great coaches in the state of West Virginia,” admitted Strcula, whose squad will be opposed by South coaches Mike Gray of Webster County and Charleston Catholic’s Matt Morrison.

“It’s a great honor. You don’t get to do something like this, I think, without having a good coaching staff yourself or a good high school team. This is kind of an honor and a reward to the people who helped get you here.”

The three local players each have something in common — ending their respective hoops careers with a loss to Wheeling Central. Cutright and the ‘Jackets lost in the Class A state quarterfinals. The Silver Knights’ campaign ended with a regional defeat to the Maroon Knights.

“I’ve never coached in the game before,’ added Strcula. “I did play in it (1998). I know Jordan pretty well. We’ve scrimmaged (Lincoln) probably four or five years. We’ve gone against each other in scrimmages and have a good relationship. I was glad to hear he was going to be the co-head coach with me.”

Members of the North-South boys team had dinner and watched the Class A South Atlantic League game on Thursday evening between visiting Greenville and the W.Va. Power. Skills competitions are set for 6 p.m. today with tip expected to get underway at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday afternoon at East Fairmont High School, the North-South girls will do battle and veteran Williamstown head coach Fred Sauro will be joined by Trinity’s Mike Baldy as the North co-coaches. The South coaching staff is comprised of George Washington’s Jamie LeMaster and Pat Jones of Nitro.

“We’ll practice on Saturday afternoon and have a banquet. They are trying to make it nice,” Sauro said of the event, which will have skills competitions begin at 2:30 p.m. with the game starting at 4 p.m.

“It’s a good crew of kids who want to play. There are several all-staters there and it’s a good crew who represents the state pretty well.”

Parkersburg South’s Sierra Hays and Williamstown’s Bethany Arnold are representing the North.

“She’s a nice kid,” Sauro said of the ex-Patriot Hays. “I remember when her mom played, Sasha Sprague. She was a Big Red and Bethany is playing. That will be nice. She’s such a good kid. She’s going up to Rio Grande for basketball and track.”

This will mark the second time coach Sauro has participated in the event, having shared duties back in 2003 with Alan Collins of Morgantown.

“The most important thing is getting them equal playing time. It’s nice to win, but I think you get the kids to have as much fun as they can and get up the most shots they can and then if it’s close (at the end) put your best five players in,” added Sauro, who also noted of Arnolda “she was always a team leader for us.

“One of the best vocal leaders we’ve had. It’s always fun to be around her, always. It will be fun because that’s the last time we’ll share the court.”