Fighting Irish Finally Find The Pot Of Gold!  


 The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
Sports Editor

Since 2013, Notre Dame Head Coach Jarrod West and his son have been in pursuit of a state championship.  This past Saturday they, along with the entire Fighting Irish team found gold, culminating the lengthy four year journey with a Class A state championship.

After a long day of hoops at the Charleston Civic Center on Friday, the last few hours of basketball are winding down and I find myself in a long line waiting for some donuts.  It was the first time that I had ever seen a booth that was churning out fried donuts that coupled with fresh coffee, were just too much for me to pass up.  As my wait increased, my patience started to waiver and the line seemed to get longer instead of shorter.  My friend Jeff Toquinto walked by and said that his wife Valerie said they were worth the wait.  Valerie was correct and as I enjoyed my second bag of donuts at high noon on Saturday, just prior to tip off, I imagined how sweet of a treat this win would be for Coach West after enduring such a lengthy wait for what he and his team had worked so hard to accomplish.

“It’s time to make the donuts” is an expression for getting up early and going to work and this father and son duo stayed true to a work ethic that is unmatched, to attain their goals.

I’ve had the honor of broadcasting games throughout their tenure together at Notre Dame.  Both have a passion for the game of basketball that fuels their desire to win.  Respect, passion, and love for the game are what drive them to success.  In all of the games that I have covered, Coach West has always taken the time to talk with me and has always been extremely appreciative of the exposure for his program and his players.

So on this championship game day, I sat by myself unlike  every game that I have worked for the last twenty years and I didn’t say one word to anyone. I sat silently watching every play and from the start of the contest, it was apparent that this team would not be denied.  Even when Ravenswood chopped a 22 point half time deficit to seven in the fourth quarter, there was no panic or fear, because it felt like the win was in the bag – just like my donuts.

Just before tipoff, I noticed a pair of men walking up the bleachers.  One had a Marshall University jacket on and he had credentials, so I had a feeling that he was a part of the Thundering Herd program where Jarrod is set to join next year.  The gentlemen sat right behind me and were witness to the pot of gold that they were about to inherit.  The efficiency that West played with is jaw dropping.  He scored 29 points on 9 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 4 from deep.  A game high six assists and four rebounds show the competiveness of his game, while playing all 32 minutes.

His cumulative stats for the week are even more staggering.  Against Ravenswood, Wheeling Central and Gilmer County, West scored 80 points.  He was 27 for 44 (61%) from the field, 8 of 12 (67%) from three point land, and 18 of 25 (72%) from the foul line.  He averaged six assists and six rebounds, while committing just five turnovers in the three game span.  West also played all but two minutes during the tournament and was just one rebound and one assist away from a triple-double in the opener against Gilmer County.

This win proves that good guys do finish first!  Congratulations to my friend Jarrod West and his basketball team for claiming the ultimate prize – the championship!

The Lincoln Cougars had an impressive showing in Charleston.  They started with a 63-59 win over Class AA no.2 seed Bluefield.  A strong finishing fourth period saw the Cougars outscore the Beavers 23-17.  Chase Riley scored a game high 28 points, while Corey Fazalare had 11 in the win.

Chapmanville upended Lincoln 57-40 in the second round.  Riley had a game high 19 points followed by Johnathan Leep and Kobie Carpenter (six points apiece).

The Cougars finished the season on a strong note, winning four of their last five games and are poised for another run next year.

That will do it for now.  Until next week … take care and God Bless!

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