As crunch time approaches for West Virginia high school basketball teams, Scott Head Boys Coach Nick Cabell has challenged his young team to step up their intensity.
With an unexpected off week from regular games last week, Cabell used the time to tell his charges “you need to find yourselves and win some road games.” The coach noted that his team has performed much better within the Madison gym than away this season.
Inclement weather forced postponement of the Corridor G rivalry game at Chapmanville last week. The game was first moved from Friday to Saturday due to icy roads. It was then postponed until next Saturday after snow on Saturday made the journey treacherous.
With the sectional tournament looming quickly on the horizon, Scott showed a record of 10-6. The season record was good enough to secure the Skyhawks as the 37th best boys high school team in the state, according to MaxPreps rankings. In fact, Scott remained solidly in Class AA’s top ten in all state ratings as the season entered February.
The Skyhawk sectional, to be played at Logan’s venerable fieldhouse February 25 through March 2, will feature Mingo Central, Wayne, Tolsia and Chapmanville Regional in addition to Scott.
The other section within the region includes Sissonville, Herbert Hoover, Clay County, Nicholas County and Poca.
Challenges for all teams in the region seem apparent, with Tolsia having defeated Poca, 48-42, at home on January 29. The Dots remain the region’s highest rated team, even after the loss to the Rebels. In fact, Poca is ranked by MaxPreps as the 23rd best team in the state and among Class AA’s top five.
The regional pairings will take place March 5 to 7, also at the Willie Akers Gym on the Logan High campus. There, runner-ups from the two sectionals will meet sectional winners, making it possible for a team to lose once in the tourney and still make it to the state tournament in Charleston.
The big dance is scheduled for the Charleston Civic Center on March 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Last week, Cabell and his assistant coaches challenged the Hawks younger players to “play on the road like you do at home.”
Cabell also pointed out that wins over Chapmanville, Wayne and Mingo Central would give the Hawks the top seed in their sectional.
“We are really focusing on those three games,” the coach said. “They could really be the key to how we do in the post-season.”
As most Skyhawk fans recognize, Scott could well make another appearance in the state tournament field. After all, the local squad defeated Central, 62-61, earlier in the year during the Coalfield Shootout. They also defeated Wayne, Sissonville, Chapmanville and Nicholas.
Losses to Poca, Hoover and at Sissonville have also been a part of the year.
The analysis, Cabell thinks, is that “the tournament is anybody’s game on any given night.” He believes his team, “if they step it up” can prevail.
“That’s what we’re shooting for,” the coach said. “Of course, it’s the same thing everybody else is shooting for.”
Scott has a tough schedule as the season winds down. On Tuesday, February 5, Hoover was scheduled to visit Madison. Then on Saturday, the make-up game at Chapmanville is set. Two days later, the Hawks make the long trek to Bluefield to take on the high-flying Beavers. Wayne comes to town February 12 before Scott goes to Matewan to meet Mingo Central on February 15. The season ends with a showdown against Poca on senior night in Madison. That game is scheduled for February 19.
Poca is 13-2 at press time. Central is 7-6; Wayne, 5-10; Tolsia, 10-6; Chapmanville, 8-6; Sissonville, 5-9; Hoover, 9-5; Clay, 7-8; and Nicholas, 8-6.
In the MaxPreps ratings of all high school teams in the state, Central checks in at 43rd; Hoover is 45th; Chapmanville, 54th; Nicholas, 59th; Sissonville, 66th; Clay, 81st; and Wayne, `08th.
“We need to get started making this a new season right now,” Cabell said last week. He said the team’s performance at Bluefield will be a key to just how much the Hawks have improved.
“It’s time to step up and see what we can do,” the coach said. “I hope our fans will come out and support ius.”