Charleston, WV. -- Typically, Friday of the state tournament is one of the best days of basketball in the whole year in West Virginia, featuring great players, teams, and usually the best crowd of the week. We made sure to stop through for a day full of semi-final action and got to see some of our top ranked prospects in West Virginia to boot. As follows are some notes of what I saw on Friday:
Parkersburg Catholic run takes them all the way to the championship
In the first game of the day, Parkersburg Catholic continued their “upset” run by knocking off Wheeling Central 61-50. 2019 guard Cade Ullman, who has been one of Class A’s deadliest scorers for the past few year, had a very strong game with 27 points, including a few triples. He is a tough player with the ability to score in the paint or from the perimeter, and stays in attack mode throughout the game. 2020 guard Jeb Boice also added 18 for Parkersburg Catholic. On the other side, Wheeling Central 2022 guard Ryan Reasbeck finished up his freshman campaign strong and at this point in time looks like one of the top players in his class statewide. 2020 Jalen Creighton was also impressive, adding 16 point for Central in the loss.
Fairmont Senior rolls 64-32 over Bluefield
We’ve talked a lot about 2019 Fairmont Senior wing Jalen Bridges, who plans to reclassify to 2020, over the years, but today may have been the best defensive performance we’ve seen from the talented wing. He did his usual thing on offense, dropping in 3s and finishing around the rim in a variety of ways. Defensively, he owned the game. Jalen registered 8 (!!) blocks, some as weak side help and some straight up guarding his man on drives; additionally, he hounded a variety of players on defense and showed his defensive versatility. 2019 point guard Zyon Dobbs controlled the tempo as did his usual thing, win. Tomorrow, Dobbs will become the first player in state history to play and start in 4 state title games. It wasn’t the best day for 2020 guard Braden Crews or his Bluefield squad, as Fairmont was on a mission from the jump, but after a strong junior season that puts him on the radar, he is a player to watch going forward.
#1 Webster County outlasts Trinity 45-42
We had no idea what to expect coming into this game, but Webster County has stood all season as the best team in Class A and continued their unbeaten run in a war on Friday to end the morning session. We came away more impressed with 2019 C Cole Taylor than anyone on the court. He is an undersized big man that plays with a motor and provided a steadying force to keep Webster close when the rest of their team was cold. He didn’t need offensive touches and produced to the tune of 20 points and 12 rebounds. Their leading scorer 2019 guard Dorian Groggs, didn’t have his best outing, but chipped in 12 points. For Trinity, 2019 guard Joel Robertson has had a great year all long scoring the ball and that didn’t change today as he added 16 points.
Undefeated Martinsburg survives Capital
Martinsburg has been a well-oiled winning machine ever since finishing as state runner-ups in Class AAA a year ago, rattling off an unbeaten season to date and 27 wins in a row. Despite a late rally from Capital who hung tough all game, Martinsburg survived at the end and moved on to the state championship game on Saturday night. They really spread the ball around as well as any team I’ve seen in West Virginia and tonight was no different, getting 18 from 2020 Telryn Villa, 14 from 2019 Grant Harman, and 10 from 2020 guard Teddy Marshall. The well-oiled machine just keeps running and will have a crack at an undefeated state championship season. Capital hung tough all game long, rallying hard at the end but could never quite take the lead. 2020 guard Kerrion Martin had a fantastic game, slashing his way to the rim for 23 points and playing hard on both ends of the floor.
Chapmanville rolls, sets up state title rubber match
The AA State Championship will once again be decided by a game between Fairmont Senior and Chapmanville for the 3rd year in a row after Chapmanville beat Robert C. Byrd 85-54. Fairmont Senior won in 2017, with Chapmanville winning in 2018, but this year could be each team’s respective best squads of that time period. 2020 C Obinna Anochili-Killen was a force defensively for Chapmanville tonight, controlling the glass and blocking shots. Offensively, he got a handful of dunks but also showed off an improved shooting stroke, knocking down 2 3s. 2019 F Devin Collins also scored the ball well, mixing 3s with drives and finishes around the basket. 2020 G Andrew Shull added 17 of his own on a variety of jumpers. For RCB, despite the score, brothers 2019 G Tanner Kennedy and 2021 G Gavin Kennedy scored the ball well, chipping in 16 and 14. 2020 G Khori Miles added 10 points.
University’s stellar backcourt delivers again
It’s no secret that University has a dynamic duo of juniors in the backcourt, but the jury’s still out on whether they are the best backcourt in the state. After some validation tonight, it would be hard to find a better one. 2020 PG Kaden Metheny was non-stop on both ends tonight, racking up 29 points and 6 steals all while making plays for those around him. 2020 G KJ McClurg, one of the state’s most improved juniors, chipped in 19 points on a variety of drives and tough finishes in the paint. Their stellar play has lead them to a shot at the state title vs undefeated Martinsburg, who eliminated them in the state semifinals a year ago. For Cabell, 2022 PG Chandler Schmidt got into foul trouble early and only finished with 10 points after almost single-handedly winning their quarterfinal game vs George Washington.