MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — If the Class A bracket goes according to form, a state championship rematch will be set for Saturday afternoon. The defending champion and favorite is Huntington St. Joseph’s. The Irish have won nine of the last eleven small school championships. Dayton signee Bailee Adkins leads a deep and talented roster. Each player in the starting lineup averages over nine points a game.
“There’s always pressure and everybody is going to bring their A-game to play against you,” said Huntington St. Joseph’s head coach Shannon Lewis. “They have nothing to lose. We try to be light about it and just do what we do.”
The Irish will face St. Marys in the quarterfinals. The Blue Devils are back in Charleston for the first time in four years and are the No. 8 seed despite a 16-win season.
Parkersburg Catholic’s last loss came to St. Joe’s in the 2019 championship game. Marty Vierheller’s team remains the lone unbeaten girls team in West Virginia with a 25-0 record. They have won every single game by double digits.
“It is just a byproduct of a lot of hard work and we are very blessed to have gotten to this point with a 25-0 record,” said Parkersburg Catholic head coach Marty Vierheller. “But preserving that (perfect record) was really not at the top of our focus.”
The Crusaderettes face Tucker County in the opening round. Tucker owns the longest streak of state tournament appearances at sixteen years. Thousand-point scorer Terra Kuhn leads the Mountain Lions in scoring at 19.1 points per game.
No. 3 seed Gilmer County is back at states for the first time since 2017. Their 2016 state championship team remains the standard that head coach Amy Chapman hopes this group of Titans can follow.
“They were watching that 2016 team,” said Gilmer County head coach Amy Chapman. “So they got hungry. In fact, one of my players came up and said, ‘Listen, when I get up there we are going to get you a ring.’ Which I think is incredible that they have that aspiration.”
The Titans face Wheeling Central Catholic in the quarterfinals. The Maroon Knights have won five in a row after a 9-11 start and they feature Bucknell signee Kaylee Reinbeau and fellow senior Hannah White.
The No. 4 vs. No. 5 game pairs teams that split two regular season meetings. Pocahontas County’s senior-heavy starting lineup collected 21 wins this year.
“We have six seniors and a lot of them have started for four years,” said Pocahontas County head coach Mike Kane. “We thought we had a chance to get here if we played right.”
The Warriors face Summers County. The Bobcats’ junior duo of Taylor Isaac and Gavin Pivont combine to average over 39 points per game.
“They bring much more than just points,” said Summers County head coach Chad Meador. “Taylor has about 140 steals on the season. And Gavin has developed into a great shot blocker.”