Brent Osborne for WVMetroNews.com
BECKLEY, W.Va. — With postseason play underway, Beckley is looking to add more championship hardware to its trophy case as the Flying Eagles close out their 100th season of basketball.
There have already been an impressive collection of stats along the way for the historic program:
- 16 state championships
- At least 10 or more wins in each season since 1973
- Just seven losing seasons
- An overall winning percentage of 74 percent
After falling in the Class AAA state tournament semifinals for the last two seasons, with last year’s loss coming to eventual champion Morgantown, Woodrow Wilson is looking to complete the task of bringing home the a 17th state championship back to Beckley.
According to the MetroNews Power Index, the Flying Eagles have played through the toughest strength of schedule in the state this season. Five of Beckley’s six losses have come to other state title contenders: Capital, George Washington, Parkersburg, Huntington, and University. The other loss in December came to a prep school out of PA, First Love Christian Academy.
The Flying Eagles (16-6) have had to overcome the injury bug this year — junior Ty Walton suffered a season ending ACL injury back in the summer, while senior starters Breland Walton (knee) and Courtney Walton (back) both have dealt with setbacks during the year as well.
“It’s definitely been hard for us, we really haven’t played a game this year with all of our starters healthy,” said senior guard Isaiah Francis. “But all of our guys have come off the bench with good energy and stepped up their game and helped us.”
Francis, a 6-foot-2 guard has lead the Flying Eagles along the way with 18 points per game. The senior has nearly 200 attempts from the free throw line this season, converting 78 percent of the time.
“I’ve needed to be more vocal on the court (this season)” Francis said. “I have to attack (the basket) to get the other guys going. Once I see the ball go in and see the ball go in, that’s when they start going also. Everybody has been working hard in practice and understanding their role and what they bring to the table for us to keep winning.”
When healthy and available, forward Breland Walton and guard Courtney Walton give Beckley another boost, averaging 12 points per game — each with 14 games apiece.
Beckley found its stride in February, winning three games within a week over then-top five opponents Capital, Morgantown and Parkersburg.
“Those last few wins have definitely boosted our momentum a lot, and our confidence,” said Francis, who scored 22 points against Capital and 29 points against Parkersburg. “That’s really gonna be big for us going on down the road, we are just gonna continue to work hard and pick up more wins.”
Beckley won its way into the MSAC consolation game, but had its momentum slowed with a 75-62 loss to Huntington as the Flying Eagles struggled against the long-stretched zone of the Highlanders.
A 97-64 win over Parkersburg South last week capped regular season play as Beckley enters sectional action having won nine of its last 11 games.
“Defend 32 minutes every game, hit the boards hard and work together,” said Francis on heading into the postseason. “It would be perfect, to go out my senior year with a state championship. To win the 17th state championship for Beckley, it would be able to bring a lot of hope and happiness back to the city of Beckley. That’s what we’re working for every single day.”
Beckley has no easy task to make it back to Charleston for the 3rd straight season as the Flying Eagles will have to emerge out of Region 3 with other tournament contenders Capital, George Washington, South Charleston and Greenbrier East.
Woodrow Wilson opens up the semifinal round of sectional play Wednesday night against Riverside in Beckley. The winner of that matchup will face either Princeton or Greenbrier East for the sectional title on Friday night.
2016-2017 Boys Basketball Schedule
|2||12/29/16||8:00PM||H –||TEAYS VALLEY CHRISTIAN||65||–||64||W|
|3||12/30/16||8:00PM||H –||FIRST LOVE CHRISTIAN, PA||61||–||73||L|
|4||01/03/17||7:30PM||H –||GEORGE WASHINGTON (@RCCC)||68||–||71||L|
|5||Cancelled||7:30PM||A –||GREENBRIER EAST||–|
|6||Cancelled||TBAPM||H –||CAPITAL (@RCCC)||–|
|7||01/11/17||7:30PM||H –||RIVERSDE (@WWHS)||82||–||37||W|
|10||01/18/17||7:30PM||H –||SOUTH CHARLESTON (@RCCC)||63||–||50||W|
|11||01/20/17||7:30PM||A –||GREENBRIER EAST (RESCHEDULED FROM 1-7)||58||–||49||W|
|12||01/21/17||7:30PM||H –||HURRCANE (@RCCC)||66||–||56||W|
|14||01/26/17||7:30PM||H –||RIPLEY (@RCCC)||106||–||53||W|
|15||01/28/17||7:30PM||H –||GREENBRIER EAST (@RCCC)||85||–||59||W|
|16||02/01/17||7:30PM||A –||GEORGE WASHINGTON||69||–||62||W|
|17||02/03/17||9:00PM||H –||PRINCETON (BIG ATLANTIC CLASSIC)||92||–||53||W|
|18||02/04/17||9:00PM||H –||UNIVERSITY (BIG ATLANTIC CLASSIC)||57||–||63||L|
|19||02/08/17||6:00PM||A –||MORGANTOWN (CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER)||52||–||47||W|
|20||02/10/17||7:30PM||A –||SPRING VALLEY||69||–||57||W|
|21||02/13/17||7:30PM||H –||CAPITAL (@RCCC)(RESCHEDULED FORM 1/9/17)||83||–||78||W|
|22||02/14/17||7:30PM||H –||PARKERSBURG @RCCC||77||–||62||W|
|23||02/18/17||4:00PM||A –||MSAC-GAME @ SC– HUNTINGTON||62||–||75||L|
|24||02/23/17||7:30PM||A –||PARKERSBURG SOUTH||97||–||64||W|
|25||03/01/17||7:00PM||H –||1ST ROUND SECTIONAL TOURNAMENT–RIVERSIDE||–|
|26||03/03/17||7:00PM||H –||2ND ROUND SECTIONAL TOUR.||–|
|27||03/07/17||7:00PM||H –||REGIONAL TOUR.||–|
|28||03/15/17||TBAPM||A –||STATE TOUR. CHARLESTON (MARCH, 15,16,17,18)||–|
|wins: 16 lost: 6 ties: 0|