Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Wheeling Central won its seventh Class A championship since 2002.

WHEELING, W.Va. — Wheeling Central reclaimed its seat of Class A supremacy with its 2014 boys basketball state championship run. The title was Central’s first since 2009 and seventh since 2002.

“This group of kids had never won one,” said Wheeling Central head coach Mel Stephens. “It was pretty special for them.”

The road to Central’s state championship wasn’t necessarily the easiest as the Maroon Knights needed overtime to edge eight seed Parkersburg Catholic in the quarterfinals, 59-57. After a 17-point semifinal win over Clay-Battelle, it took double-overtime to beat Charleston Catholic in the championship game.

“I felt coming in that Parkersburg Catholic was much better than your normal eight seed, because they played half of the year without one of their better players,” Stephens said. “We were expecting a tough game and they came out and played really well.

“I don’t know if it was jitters or what on our part, but we didn’t play our best game,” he continued. “But to my kids’ credit, we found a way to hang around and just made enough plays to keep it close for a while before we finally made a couple of plays in overtime to pull out the win.”

The championship game matchup with Charleston Catholic, meanwhile, marked the fifth time those two teams had met in the title game since 2005.

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Wheeling Central and Charleston Catholic have met in the state championship game five times since 2005.

“It’s been pretty special between us and them,” Stephens said. “It’s always a good contest and Coach McClanahan has done such a great job with their program down there to get to that level. They came out in the first quarter and played really well and we didn’t play great. But just like in the quarterfinal game, we found a way to stay close.”

The end result was a 64-55 double-overtime championship win for Stephens’ club as Central continues to leave its mark as one of the top Class A athletic programs in the state overall.

“This year’s title run was pretty similar (to the others),” Stephens said. “We’ve struggled in games at times (in Charleston). But this group was pretty focused – no one really expected us to get down there last year, and we came down there last year as a seven seed, upending Magnolia before we lost to Charleston Catholic in the semifinals. They came back pretty focused this year and pretty determined to get back there and finish their business – we were able to do that.”

As for next year, the Maroon Knights lose six seniors overall, including four starters from this year’s team.

“We’re going to miss those guys, but we do have a pretty good nucleus coming back in Chase Harler who led us in scoring this year,” Stephens said. “Brian Campbell and Boyd Bibey will have to step up and fill some shoes as well. We’re hoping to pick up where we left off, get on another little run and try to get (to the state tournament) again.”

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Comments

  • ignorant bystander

    W West
    V Virginia
    S Screwing
    S Single
    A A
    C Classification

  • I'm honest at least

    Its a shame the states public school athletes are treated so unfair.

    • Hank

      It's a shame the state's public school athletes are treated so unfairly.
      Your public education is showing...

      • I'm honest at least

        Is that the best you've got? Your I'm better than everyone else education is showing....

        • Hank

          No, it's the best I HAVE.
          Oh, and my education is from a public school. Class A as a matter of fact.

          • I'm honest at least

            Hank needs a hobby.

        • Irish_time

          You're act is old I'm honest. You and everything all the haters have spewed - like "recruiting" myths - have long been discredited. Interesting how no one complained in the 70s-80s-90s when public schools won the Class A titles. The public schools that hate on the privates now couldn't win state titles back then and now that their fellow Class A public school champions are long closed to consolidation, they conveniently spew lies about Catholic/Christian schools. That doesn't say much about your character I'm honest.

          • wow

            Irish_time, I'm not saying private schools recruit, they don't have to. The private schools give a way better education than the public school, I wish I had one close enough to send may daughter to. There are a few things that give private schools an advantage over public schools.1) Larger population areas to draw from, not to mention other states. 2) Parents with more resources on average to help their kid become better players and students. 3) Better coaches, due to various reasons.
            4) With public schools going way down hill since the 70's,80's and 90's people are looking for a place to send their kids besides public schools. I'm not saying the private schools are doing anything wrong, the rules are the rules, and if they were skirting the rules they would get in trouble. Now with that being said, The numbers don't lie. The number of titles being won by private schools vs the number of kids in the schools points to a clear advantage. For the most part they are small in numbers but rule class A in sports. I say move the private schools up to AA. WC and Bluefield would have been a great game. If you had a kid in a public A school you would feel different.

          • I'm honest at least

            Its no act. I have said before and I'll say again. When a parent chooses public schools that choice should include playing in a private conf. Why should the sports cater to people who made a choice? If you would read closer I said nothing about any private student athletes. I stated public single A schools were not treated fair. If a character check is needed its clearly yours.

          • Irish_time

            I'll go one further ignorant (well chosen for your I might add).
            Zero kids in the picture have received scholarships to attend Wheeling Central. And ... zero kids on this year's CCHS team have scholarships. Remember "ignorant" - in addition to knowing this for a fact, scholarships are a violation of SSAC rules. Thus, if you are certain I am lying, call the SSAC right now to have WC stripped of its basketball title. Please let me know how your conversation with the SSAC went.

          • ignorant bystander

            I have a question "irish time"...How many of the awesome athletes in the picture accompanying this story receive scholarships to attend Wheeling Central?
            P.S. Very sincere about the kids being awesome in general, not just athletically!