CHARLESTON, W.Va — The boys basketball state tournament officially gets underway this week in Charleston, capping off the high school basketball season in the state.

This year, there will be new state champions in Class AAA and Class A as Martinsburg (AAA) and Tug Valley (A) weren’t able to make it back to Charleston to defend their titles. Bluefield, meanwhile, will be looking to defend its title as the third seed this year in Class AA.

 

CLASS AAA

No. 1 Washington comes in with an unblemished 24-0 record and will put its streak on the line against No. 8 Morgantown (15-10).

Christopher C. Davis/Clark’s Artistic Photography

Washington comes into Charleston without a loss on the season.

The Patriots come in averaging 88 points a game after making it to the semifinals a year ago. Dominique Newman leads Washington, putting up just under 21 points per game. A title for Washington would be the school’s first.

Tyler Mertins/MetroNews

South Charleston guard Brandon Knapper has made a name for himself during his sophomore season.

No. 2 South Charleston (24-1) comes into the tournament riding a 20 game win streak as the Black Eagles drew No. 7 Hurricane (19-6) in the Class AAA quarterfinals. The Black Eagles handled the Redskins 74-62 in their only meeting on the year, and most think that they are the biggest challenger to Washington this year. Brandon Knapper and Kentre Grier provide a solid sophomore backcourt for South Charleston, while 6-foot-5 big man Anthony Billings gives the Black Eagles a significant presence inside.

More: Boys basketball state tournament schedule

No. 3 Hedgesville (18-5) will play No. 6 Parkersburg South (19-6) at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday in the Class AAA quarterfinals. The Eagles, who won the 2012 state championship, could be a very dangerous team as three of their five losses have come to Washington. The Patriots, after starting off the season 10-0, cooled off a bit in the middle of the season, but have turned it around of late, winning four straight coming into the state tournament.

Christopher C. Davis/Clark’s Artistic Photography

Hedgesville and head coach Kelly Church earned the No. 3 seed in the Class AAA field.

In what may be the most anticipated game of the quarterfinals, No. 4 George Washington (19-6) will take on No. 5 Huntington (20-4). The Patriots are led by the state’s leading scorer, Jon Elmore who puts in just over 30 points a night and has been on a tear in the postseason. In the three games leading up to the tournament, he’s poured in 105 combined points.

Boothe Davis, Captured by the Moment Photography

George Washington’s Jon Elmore leads the state in scoring with just over 30 points per game.

 

CLASS AA

No. 1 Robert C. Byrd (22-0) comes in undefeated as the Flying Eagles look to build on a semifinals appearance from a year ago. RCB will take on No. 8 East Fairmont (11-13) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Robert C. Byrd took down East Fairmont 69-55 in the two teams’ only matchup this season back in January.

C.J. Ricker/MetroNews

Robert C. Byrd is undefeated on the year, including an impressive 76-54 win over No. 4 Westside.

No. 2 Poca (24-1) will square off against No. 7 Fairmont Senior (15-9) on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. The Dots have reeled of 22 straight wins since a heart-breaking 56-50 loss to RCB in the third game of the season. A couple of freshmen, Elijah Cuffee and Lukas Frampton, have been a lethal combination with junior Matt Chandler as the Dots look to win their first title since 1997. Fairmont Senior, meanwhile, got hot at the right time, winning five straight and 10 of 12.

Defending state champion, No. 3 Bluefield (22-2), will start its title defense against No. 6 Chapmanville (20-5) in the opening game on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. The Beavers should have the experience factor in this matchup as the bulk of their title team from last year, Chapmanville is making its first ever appearance at the state tournament in school history. Bluefield has won 15 straight games with those two losses coming to Westside (62-57) and Greenbrier East (67-51). The Tigers, meanwhile, come in having won eight straight games overall.

Tyler Mertins/MetroNews

Bluefield beat Fairmont Senior 63-43 in last year’s state title game.

The four-five matchup features No. 4 Westside (18-6) against No. 5 Bridgeport (18-7). Westside played through a bruising schedule and came through its section over rival Wyoming East who saw its season end in the regionals at Bluefield. All five of Westside’s starters have been putting up double figures on the year, led by Corey Bowles and Justin Cogar. For Bridgeport, Mike Robey has done a terrific job in his first season at the helm, taking over for the veteran Gene Randolph. The Indians returned three starters this year from last year’s state semifinal team.

C.J. Ricker/MetroNews

Bridgeport advanced to the state semifinals in 2013 as the Indians look to take the next step this year.

 

CLASS A

Class A may be the most wide open of the three classes, as there is plenty of parity among the final eight.  No. 1 Wheeling Central (22-3) will take on No. 8 Parkersburg Catholic (16-8) in the Class A quarterfinals on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. The Maroon Knights come in riding a 13 game win streak, including a 59-45 win over the Crusaders during that span.

No. 2 Notre Dame (20-4) will see a familiar foe in the quarterfinals, as the Irish will play No. 7 Tucker County (17-6) for the fourth time on the year. The Irish have taken two-of-three from Tucker, including a 37-35 win most recently in the sectionals – but the Mountain Lions are hoping to get the one that matters the most this week.

C.J. Ricker/MetroNews

Notre Dame has several big wins on the year, including a 65-60 victory over Charleston Catholic.

No. 3 Charleston Catholic (19-6) will be looking to send off long-time coach Bill McClanahan on top in his final trip to the state tournament, as he announced he will be retiring after this season. His Irish will be taking on No. 6 Valley (Fayette) (22-3), who took care of defending state champion Tug Valley 82-63 in the regionals.

C.J. Ricker/MetroNews

Clay-Battelle enters state tournament play having won 12 straight games overall.

No. 4 Clay-Battelle (20-5) will battle it out against No. 5 Greater Beckley Christian (18-5) on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. The Cee-Bees are one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament as they have reeled off 12 straight victories. The Crusaders started off the year with seven straight wins out of the gate. Despite losing all-state guard and veteran leader Keith Mullins from last year’s tournament team, GBC has made it back this season looking for a deeper run behind Elisha Kidd and Javonne Staunton-Bailey.

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Comments

  • TC

    Time for Coach Gutshall and Tucker Co. to win one, im calling TC for the single A title

  • Public School

    Why doesn't the private schools have their own class? Not on an even playing field when you can go out and get whoever you want. We rely on who's in our district, period.

    • dm

      Its a shame this matter has not been resolved public vs private. Private need their own class. Then their recruiting efforts would b fair and public schools who play with who attends would b treated fair. The sad part is most private entities are in some affiliate with supposing to b of a more honest nature! Practice what u teach.

    • College Ave

      If private schools do recruit athletes, it pales in comparison to the recruiting that happens among some AAA and AA schools.

      And I don't think it's as easy as "go out and get whoever you want." Private schools charge tuition. And I doubt many can afford to just waive tuition for athletes. And I suspect you're imagining more rich boosters who will pay an athlete's tuition.

      Here's why I think private schools tend to do better: they're located in WV's population centers (Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling, Parkersburg) where there are more fields, more coaches, more summer programs, and more access to competition than in the more rural areas.

      • mike

        Agreed. Isn't this Jon Elmore's third school of his high school career? I think he started at South Charleston and now he plays for GW. I think AAA schools at least in Kanawha county recruit for football and basketball.

  • EP_Haters

    Forget about what you guys want explain...someone tell me why so many people put S Charleston as a legitimate contender. They're gettin smoked by Hurricane!!!!

  • Kiddkornbred

    Ok in your recruiting argument someone please tell me from a basketball POV what is in it for the kids. What would it benefit you to go to Greater Beckley Christian School and get less recognition and play your home games is a shoebox as opposed to going to AAA Woodrow Wilson and playing at the Raleigh County Armory surrounded by championship banners. I heard the argument made that it was to make it to Charleston. That makes zero sense. Unless you learned the word basketball for the first time this week if you live in WV you know Woodrow Wilson High School has had some fairly "decent" teams.
    So you are a talented HS basketball player in Beckley and you are approached by the "GBCS Recruiter" How would you like to go to private school for free and play for a team that might someday win a Class A state championship.......I think you say nope I think I will go to WWHS for free and try to add to the multiple state championship banners. Argument over thank you all for your time. I would've ended it for you earlier but I have been busy.

    • dm

      Truth is public vs private is that there is recruitment we all know it. Get over it play ball. If that is what a school has to do to win shame on them.

    • Scott

      Then explain why Staunton-Bailey transferred from Oak Hill to play at GBC? Oak Hill has multiple championships, and would certainly provide more exposure than GBC. So, please explain to me why Staunton-Bailey left Oak Hill to play at GBC.

      • dagoat

        wasnt staunton baileys choice to go to gbc it was his parents.

      • Kiddkornbred

        Ok you just proved my point for me 100 percent. If you admit he would get more exposure and has already won a championship at Oak Hill. So I guess I ask why he would transfer doesn't seem to be basketball.

        • Scott

          Just curious kiddkornbred, did you attend private school? If so, it's obvious they don't transfer for the education. Your lack of comprehensible responses proves my theory that students transfer because they are recruited to play sports, not to receive superior education.

          • Kiddkornbred

            I didn't say consolidated schools had an advantage or were winning. I was simply pointing out that consolidation has really hurt class A basketball in WV. A lot of small schools that were state tourney fixtures are gone::Harts -Burch-williamson-Marsh fork-Vinson- Ceredo kenova-Mullens and more. When schools like these started to disappear is when the public to private tourney ratio really flipped

          • Scott

            I can't rebut gibberish. Not sure exactly what you're trying to prove. It's extremely difficult to follow your argument....

            BTW how is consolidation the problem? The schools winning aren't the ones who consolidated. The ones winning are the ones who hand pick the bench warmers from AAA schools.

          • Kiddkornbred

            See you went on the twelve year old tongue out offensive because you had not a legitimate rebuttal. I did not go to private school. Did go to semi final with a extremely rural class A school. Five out of the eight schools that were there that year are closed. I think consolidation is more of a problem than private recruiting. Anyway it was immature and hurtful of you to attack me personally.

  • Pensfan

    The Private A class looks pretty tough

    • dm

      There is still a public school n the running go cbs.