AP NEWS

Chapmanville repeats as Class AA champs

March 18, 2019
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Chapmanville center Obinna Anochili-Killen shoots over a Fairmont Senior defender during the West Virginia high school Class AA boys basketball championship game Saturday at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center in Charleston.

CHARLESTON — Basketball legend Bill Walton perhaps said it best.

When asked about winning championships he said, “You don’t win championships by just being normal or by just being average.”

That was on display Saturday afternoon — and for the entire season for that matter — as the Chapmanville Regional High School basketball team wrapped up its second straight Class AA state championship with a 60-46 win over Fairmont Senior at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

The No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Tigers, who had never even made it to the state tournament prior to 2014, beat Fairmont (26-2) for the second straight year in the final and for the third time in a row.

CRHS coach Brad Napier said it’s been a fun ride to make this kind of history.

“I don’t have words to describe this. I’m so proud of these guys,” Napier said. “They’ve put in a lot of effort and focus. We’ve had a target on our backs all year. Every team came at us with everything that they had. Our guys fought to the very end. Anytime you can even play with Fairmont you’ve done a heck of a job, and to do what these guys have done tonight is just an amazing accomplishment.”

Four Chapmanville players broke into double digits in scoring but none was more dominant than 6-foot-9 junior Obinna Anochili-Killen, who nearly had a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Senior Devin Collins scored 17 points and Andrew Shull and Philip Mullins 13 each.

“We played the best game of the season tonight and we knew that we had to,” Napier said. “Hats off to our kids. They followed the game plan to perfection. Mentally and physically we were engaged. Obinna’s energy was off the charts.”

Jalen Bridges led Fairmont with 17 points. Dasilas Jones scored 13.

Fairmont jumped on top 7-2 before a 9-0 Chapmanville run put the Tigers ahead 11-7 on their way to a 16-10 lead at the end of the first period.

Chapmanville kept the pressure on Fairmont in the second quarter, grabbing a 21-10 lead after a Shull 3 and a Killen 15-foot jumper.

Killen showed his full range of impact on both ends of the floor, also swatting a Jones shot on a drive down the lane during the span and blocking two more shots soon after, the latter on a Jones layup attempt, which he deflected high off the glass.

The Polar Bears trimmed the deficit to 21-15 on a Johnson 3 at the 2:45 mark, but back-to-back 3s by Shull gave Chapmanville a commanding 29-17 halftime edge.

Fairmont trailed just 31-29 with 4:01 to go in the third after a floater in the lane by Dobbs. But Collins completed an old-fashioned three-point play and hit two free throws and Killen later blocked a Bridges shot in the lane and stuffed down a two-handed alley-oop slam and the Tigers led 38-31 with 49 ticks to go.

Killen added two free throws with 7.1 seconds left, putting the Tigers up 40-31 after three.

Fairmont closed the gap to 40-34, but that was as close as the Polar Bears came. The Tigers pushed the lead to 45-34 on a Mullins three-point play with 6:03 to go.

The Tigers were 21 of 25 from the foul line for 84 percent, while the Polar Bears were 8 of 11.

Chapmanville was 18 of 39 from the floor for 46.2 percent. Fairmont was only 16 of 59 shooting for 27.1 percent.

“That’s tough to overcome those statistics,” Fairmont coach Dave Retton said about his team’s poor shooting. “We played from behind. We struggled to do the things that we wanted to do. They are a very good team. We knew that and respected that coming in. We are a good team too, but today they played better than we did.”

Napier said his team played team ball all week and all season long.

“We’re balanced and we have a bunch of guys that can play,” Napier said. “They know that they can play and they trust each other. We did a heck of a job in the tournament in making extra passes and everybody getting involved. Our ball movement was phenomenal, and that was the difference in the game.”

CHAPMANVILLE 16 13 11 20 — 60: Collins 17, Shull 13, Mullins 13, Killen 12, Kish 2, Elkins 3.

FAIRMONT 10 7 14 15 — 46: Bridges 17, Jones 13, Dobbs 7, Johnson 7, Laxton 2.