CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 24 best high school basketball teams in West Virginia will gather at the Charleston Civic Center this week to crown three state champions. Those teams will be supported by rabid fan bases that will travel to Charleston from throughout the Mountain State.
Making the longest trip to Charleston will be the Patriots of Washington High in Jefferson County. The AAA top-seed is 24-0 and making its second straight trip to the final eight. The school is just six years old.
Other fans won’t have as far to come.
“The student body is really excited and the community in general is really excited,” said Poca High Athletic Director Rex Nelson. “We’ve had some really full gymnasiums this season. We were turning people away at the regional co-championship game.”
The Dots are a second seed going into the AA tournament. Poca, which is located in Putnam County less than 20 miles from the Civic Center, will open play Wednesday afternoon against seven-seed Fairmont Senior. The Dots last made the state tournament in 2011.
George Washington returns to the Civic Center after winning the title on a controversial last second shot two seasons ago. This year’s team wasn’t expected to have the success they have enjoyed. A trip back to the State Tournament has the entire student body and South Hills community wearing the maroon.
“I think the kids are really excited about it,” said GW assistant principal Brad Marano. “The basketball players get excited and the team feeds off that when you have good support.”
George Washington will open tournament play Thursday morning at 11:15 against Huntington.
All 21 games will air on radio stations across the state and at wvmetronews.com with comprehensive coverage of each game.