From The World Of Parks & Recreation
By Doug Comer
When I hear the term “The south’s gonna rise again!” I often reflect back to my childhood where Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane would chase those darn Duke boys down some country road before wrecking into some duck pond as the boys in the General Lee would squeal tires and hit the horn as they drove away.
In the state, there has always been a debate on what schools are the best. With Flatwoods being the middle, schools from the North and South have battled every year around the mid-March point to determine where the best basketball comes from in the state. And yes, the southern counties have had overall bragging rights. But, a changing of the guard happened this year as the north represented well in both the girls and boys state tourney.
Morgantown High can arguably say that they have the best talent pool in the state as it took crowns in both boys and girls class AAA. The girls have been so dominant in years past that it is like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day when he wakes up every morning and replays the day prior. They have won the girls championship the last three years. In fact, the north has won the AAA title 10 of the last 11 times.
On the boys’ side, the Mohigans ended Huntington’s two-year run as champion with a three-point win and thus completing the season with an unblemished 27-0 record. Quite an accomplishment with the schedule they play.
So, if you are keeping score at home – North 2, South 0.
In class AA, there was a split in honors as Fairmont Senior took home the state title in boys while Wyoming East blitzed the Lady Polar Bears in the women’s final. It was the first title for Coach David Retton and the first win for the boys since the 1996 season that defeated a new school due to consolidation named Robert C. Byrd. It is the second year in a row that Fairmont Senior girls took runner-up honors. North 3, South 1.
Finally, in class A we saw Gilmer County, who finished the season with an impressive 25-2 record to claim its first every girls’ championship. Using a team mostly comprised of younger players, the Titans squeaked past St. Joseph Central 42-41 in the final, thus ending a 7-year run won by St. Joseph Central.
In the boys’ final, St. Joseph Central started where the girls left off by claiming the single A title in a hard fought win over Wheeling Central Catholic. Wheeling Central, going in as the favorite has been in the finals the last three years only to walk away with one title in 2014.
Final score – North 4, South 2.
Locally, the area was well represented as Byrd (boys), Bridgeport (boys), Notre Dame (both boys and girls), Grafton (girls), Lincoln (girls), North Marion (girls), Buckhannon-Upshur (girls) as well as those who won championships all made it to Charleston.
Is it a changing of the guard? Is it a shift in the wind or a new sheriff in town? I do not know what the future of basketball in the north will look like, but right now I am proud of the way our teams looked in 2015-16. Congrats to all schools and I look forward to the future of basketball in my area.
Well, at least this year we can break that car horn that plays “Dixie.”