MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As the defending Class AAA boys basketball state champion, University was the odds on favorite to bring home the large school title for a second consecutive season. It remains to be seen if the Hawks will get that chance.
The entire boys basketball state tournament has been postponed due to the coronavirus. The 21-game event was originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday but there is a strong possibility that the tournament will be canceled.
“I think the people at the SSAC are going to do their best to try to get this thing in eventually,” said University head coach Joe Schmidle. “I am not real sure if it is going to happen. We are keeping our hopes up. I am just afraid that the longer we wait, the longer we prolong it, the worse it is going to be. We’re just trying to be positive.”
All extracurricular activities in West Virginia schools have been halted until April 10. Teams are not allowed to practice formally or informally until the ban is lifted.
“I know the coaches and players throughout the state that I have talked to would be willing to practice here in three weeks maybe for a short period of time in order to complete it, whether that is in front of fans or not.”
University is the No. 1 seed in the state tournament and they were scheduled to face No. 8 seed St. Albans (17-8) in the quarterfinals. The Hawks (22-3) have won thirteen consecutive games and have lost just once to an in-state opponent.
“They are heartbroken. Everyone is thinking of us because we were the odds on favorite to win. But look at the other teams too. Look at the St. Albans team that hasn’t been here in sixteen years. How excited are they to have that opportunity to go and compete in Charleston? Wheeling Park knocks off a great Morgantown team. George Washington has won eleven games in a row. There’s a lot of different storylines there, a lot of possibilities that could happen.”
Schmidle met with his team Friday and told his guys to stay ready in the event that the postseason can somehow resume later in the spring.
“I talked to my leaders on the team, Kaden Metheny and K.J. McClurg. I tried to get the team to understand that they have to be disciplined enough to try and stay prepared on their own and to stay in shape.”