AP NEWS

Regional co-finals set for Tuesday

March 6, 2019

HUNTINGTON — The boys basketball teams at Spring Valley and Cabell Midland high schools wouldn’t mind meeting for a fourth time this season because that would mean both made the state tournament.

The Timberwolves (14-10) entertain Parkersburg South (7-16) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in a Class AAA, Region IV co-final. The Cabell Midland Knights (17-7) visit Parkersburg (6-17) in the other co-final. The winners advance to the state tournament March 13-16 at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

Spring Valley owns a 2-1 edge on Cabell Midland this season, having beaten the Knights 70-65 in Ona, then losing 58-53 at home before bouncing back to win 50-48 last week in the Region IV, Section 2 championship game.

“Congratulations to Spring Valley,” Cabell Midland coach Rick Chaffin said. “It was a good game.”

The Timberwolves overcame a 12-point deficit and the Knights narrowly missed a half-court shot at the buzzer. Both teams now look to the future, with each owning at least a solid chance of reaching the Elite Eight.

Spring Valley defeated Parkersburg South 82-72 on Dec. 27 in Parkersburg. A streaky team with winning streaks of seven and five games, and losing skids of four and two (three times), the Timberwolves emerged victorious in their last five contests.

Spring Valley is led by 6-foot-6 junior C.J. Meredith, who averages 23.4 points per game. Graeson

Malashevich averages 10.4 points and Chase Maynard 10.0 a game.

Cabell Midland lost 64-60 at Parkersburg on Jan. 23. The Knights, too, have been somewhat hot and cold, stringing together winning strings of six, four, three and (twice) two games. The loss to the Big Reds was the second in a three-game skid.

“Win or lose, our kids have had a great year,” Chaffin said. “Third in the (Mountain State Athletic Conference) and ranked eighth in the state, they’ve accomplished a lot and should be proud of an amazing year.”

Often, Cabell Midland goes as Chandler Schmidt goes. The freshman guard usually plays well, averaging 18.8 points per game. Seniors Ty Sturm and Jake Edwards average 11.2 and 10.6 points per game respectively.

In Class AAA, Region III, George Washington visits Woodrow Wilson in a co-final for the sixth time since 2009. In the other Region III game Tuesday, Capital (19-5) plays host to Greenbrier East (12-11). Both are set to tip off at 7 p.m., with the winners advancing to the state tournament.

Capital earned the right to play at home in the regionals by knocking off the Patriots 64-63 in Friday’s sectional finals at GW. Woodrow Wilson, meanwhile, dispatched Greenbrier East 60-52 in the other sectional title game.

History has been somewhat kind to GW in its previous tournament travels to Beckley, as the Patriots are 3-2 in those regional meetings, winning in 2012,2014 and 2017 and losing in 2009 and 2015.

Gaining home-court advantage in March has been beneficial for Woodrow Wilson, a 16-time state champion that has missed the state tournament just five times since 1989. But seldom have the stakes been this high: the Flying Eagles (18-6) come into the game ranked No. 3 in the final West Virginia AAA poll, while the Patriots (19-5) are ranked fourth.

The teams have met twice so far this season, with GW capturing a 76-68 home victory early in the season and Woodrow avenging that decision with a 66-63 win on Bryce Radford’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the MSAC title game on Feb. 16 in South Charleston.

GW coach Rick Greene said he thinks his squad can rebound from Friday’s last-second loss to Capital, which outscored the Patriots 6-0 in the final minute. It marked just the second home loss for GW over the last two seasons; the Patriots had won 25 of their previous 26 home games.

“I don’t think it will (linger),” Greene said of the unsettling loss. “I’ll be shocked if the kids don’t respond. We’re still alive. So long as you’re alive, you have a chance.”

Capital, meanwhile, hosts an unranked Greenbrier East team it hasn’t played since the 2017 regional finals at Capital. The Cougars won that game 85-63, but lost to the Spartans in the 2015 Region 3 co-finals, also held on their home court.

Cougars coach Matt Greene, son of Rick Greene, said his players should feel comfortable getting to play the regional game on their own floor.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s always good to have a chance to go to states when you’re playing at home. It’s a really good opportunity for our team, our program, our community and the school if we can get back to states. It would be a great accomplishment for us.”

The Spartans are 2-4 this season against MSAC schools, splitting with South Charleston and losing two of three to Woodrow Wilson. They also fell to Hurricane.