CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Half of the field at the Class AAA state tournament will be in action Wednesday, while the other four teams take to the hardwood Thursday for quarterfinal matchups. Both AAA semifinals are set for Friday’s evening session, with the championship to be held at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in what marks the final girls basketball game of the season. A look at each team in the field in order of seeding.
1 — Parkersburg (19-5)
The two-time defending state champion Big Reds are 15-1 against state competition this season. Parkersburg’s only loss to a Mountain State school came back on Dec. 11 in its second game of the season when it fell to Wheeling Park, 50-49. With the Patriots suffering an upset loss to Morgantown in a regional co-final, they’re no longer a potential concern for Parkersburg in its quest for a three-peat. Scott Cozzens’ team has also won 13 straight games and boasts double digit regular season victories against the Nos. 2 and 4 seeds — Woodrow Wilson and Cabell Midland. PHS had to earn its way here with a hard-fought 59-54 victory over Huntington to qualify for the state tournament.
2 — Woodrow Wilson (19-5)
Winners of four straight and six of seven, the Flying Eagles appear to be playing their best basketball at the right time. At the forefront of the success are the team’s two seniors — Victoria Staunton and Liz Cadle. Both players scored 17 points to key Beckley to an impressive 62-44 victory over George Washington in last Tuesday’s Region III co-final. The Patriots had beaten Woodrow Wilson in both regular season meetings. Beckley also notched a 23-point win over Greenbrier East in the sectional title game after the rivals split two regular season meetings. Beckley allowed more than 60 points in four of its five losses, but not more than 56 in any win. It also has familiarity with its quarterfinal opponent Morgantown as the Flying Eagles beat the Mohigans in the regular season, 55-37. Beckley’s only appearance in a state final came in 1987 when it lost to Parkersburg.
3 — Greenbrier East (21-4)
A strong defensive effort helped the Spartans overcome their disappointment of dropping the sectional final to Beckley as they went to South Charleston last week and prevailed, 53-43. Greenbrier East likes to mix up its defensive looks and looks to senior Haley McClure for production on both ends of the court. McClure scored 27 points in the Spartans’ 73-48 regular season win over Martinsburg. Guards Amya Damon and Emma Dotson add scoring punch to a team that won its first eight games this season. The most recent of Greenbrier East’s two AAA titles was in 2012.
4 — Cabell Midland (18-6)
After starting the season 13-0, the Knights lost six of their next eight. They appear to have found their stride again, evidenced by three convincing wins in the postseason. Cabell Midland does not have a senior and generally relies on balanced offensive efforts to be successful. Autumn Lewis is the team’s top scorer at 13 points per game, but Rylee Allie, Jayda Allie, Jazmyn Wheeler and Kaedlee Potter are all plenty capable of scoring as well. Cabell Midland has scored at least 50 points in 17 of its 18 wins. The lone excpetion was a 49-45 regular season win at defensive-minded South Charleston.
5 — University (18-7)
Winners of seven straight, the Hawks come to Charleston brimming with confidence. Last year’s runner-up was up and down over the course of its first 18 games, but its only loss to a team in the state tournament came Feb. 1 against Greenbrier East in the Big Atlantic Classic. A trio of UHS seniors — Ashten Boggs, Mallory Napolillo and Abbie Coen — all have experience at this stage and are the team’s top three scorers. Boggs, who thrives off aggressive play, averages just under 19 points per game. A potential matchup against Parkersburg awaits in a semifinal in what would be a rematch of last year’s title game.
6 — Martinsburg (18-5)
With 100 points allowed in three postseason wins, the Bulldogs hope their defense can slow the Spartans in Thursday’s quarterfinal. That was anything but the case when the two teams met Feb. 8, with Greenbrier East rolling to a 73-48 win that ended the Bulldogs’ 13-game win streak. Six-foot-1 center Morganne Andrews is Martinsburg’s only senior and no stranger to double doubles. But the Bulldogs will also need production from guards Olivia Mayer and Prosperity Stitt as they look to play beyond Thursday. Martinsburg has never reached a AAA title game.
7 — Morgantown (14-11)
The Mohigans certainly shook up the bracket by eliminating Wheeling Park last week. MHS lost five of its first six games this season and was 5-10 at one point before hitting its stride. The Mohigans’ only loss over their last 10 games came in the sectional final against University. Junior Kaitlyn Ammons battled injury in the early part of the season, but her return has helped a team with no seniors compete with elite competition. Defense has also been imperative for Morgantown, which hasn’t allowed 50 points since an 18-point setback to Woodrow Wilson on Jan. 30. Morgantown last won it all in 2016 when it did so for a third straight year.
8 — Spring Mills (11-14)
The Cardinals have not been over the .500 mark at any point this season, but they’re 7-3 since a loss to Fairmont Senior left them 4-11 on Jan. 25. Spring Mills has also been tested in both of its playoff wins, having beaten Musselman 59-58 to reach the sectional title game, and then topping Jefferson 55-49 to reach the state tournament. Post player Jada Brooks has 53 combined points in Spring Mills’ two playoff wins.
CLASS AAA QUARTERFINAL SCHEDULE
Wednesday, March 11
Game 1 – No. 2 Woodrow Wilson vs. No. 7 Morgantown, 11:15 a.m.
Game 2 – No. 1 Parkersburg vs. No. 8 Spring Mills, 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, March 12
Game 3 – No. 4 Cabell Midland vs. No. 5 University, 11:15 a.m.
Game 4 – No. 3 Greenbrier East vs. No. 6 Martinsburg, 7:15 p.m.
Friday, March 13
Game 5 – Game 2 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 5:30 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 1 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 14
Game 7 – Championship, 7:15 p.m.