March Madness and state tourney notes

Kyle Lovern

Kyle’s Korner ….

Both Mingo Central and Chapmanville had good showings in the W.Va. State High School basketball tourney last week. The Miners made it to the Final Four and got their first-ever win in school history at the state tourney. It was only their second appearance in Charleston.

The Tigers made it to the championship game for the first time in school history. It was also the first time they had ever won a game in the state tourney.

Both local teams are from Region 4 and were knocked out by eventual Class AA champions Fairmont Senior.

… Former Williamson High School All-American Mark Cline, who is now an assistant coach at Marshall University and the Herd’s recruiting coordinator, was in attendance at the tourney. Cline had a stellar career at Wake Forest after leading the Wolfpack to a Class AA state title back in 1983, defeating perennial power Northfork in the final.

I had the chance to spend some time with Cline on press row on Thursday and Friday.

Cline saw Clarksburg Notre Dame guard Jarrod West lead his team to the Class A title. West will be playing for Marshall this coming season. His father Jarrod West, Sr., who is his high school coach, played at WVU under Gale Catlett and helped lead the Mountaineers to the Sweet 16.

Tug Valley fans saw the Notre Dame standout first-hand the last couple of seasons as the Panthers played the Irish in the regular season.

Cline also watched Mingo Central’s Jeremy Dillon, who has verbally committed to Marshall. Cline has continued to be impressed by Dillon’s play. The 6-foot-5 junior guard, the state’s Kennedy Award Winner for the best football player in the state, is also a quarterback for the Miners and is receiving interest from D-1 schools in both sports.

Marshall is also interested in other players who played in the state tourney. One of those is Chapmanville 6-foot-8 freshman Obinna Anochili-Killen. Originally from Nigeria, he was adopted and now lives in Logan County and has become a part of the Chapmanville-Harts community. If he gains weight and continues to improve, Killen will be on the radar of many other schools in the next three seasons.

Chapmanville’s Drew Williamson is another player who is getting interest from college recruiters. The 6-foot-3 junior showed his range from behind the arc during the tourney. His father Andy Paul Williamson was a former Harts High School great, back in the 1980s. He went on to play at Marshall under the late Rick Huckabay.

Mikal Dawson of Huntington High School is also turning heads. Like Mingo’s Dillon, he is a 2-sport star. The 6-foot-4, 222-pound Huntington standout is a small forward for the Highlanders, but also a very good wide receiver in football.

There were some other players in the tourney that created interested from college scouts. Once again it was a great event held at the Charleston Civic Center, which has been undergoing renovations.

… It was a good weekend for WVU and UK basketball fans as both teams made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tourney.

West Virginia defeated Notre Dame and Kentucky beat Wichita State to advance in the Big Dance.

The NCAA has announced that WVU’s game time against Gonzaga in the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament will tip at 7:39 p.m. ET on Thursday on TBS at the SAP Center in San Jose, California.

The last time WVU played Gonzaga they took it on the chin. Hopefully this time around it will be a much better game and different result for Coach Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers.

Kentucky will play highly ranked UCLA Friday night in South Region. The Bruins defeated the Wildcats in a non-conference game early in the season in Lexington.

I’m sure Coach John Calapari has already reminded his squad that UCLA beat them on their home court back in early December of 2016.

… Tickets for West Virginia’s appearance in the 2017 NCAA West Regional went on sale through the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 20. The No. 4 Mountaineers will face No.1-seed Gonzaga on Thursday night.

All 2016-17 Mountaineer Athletic Club (MAC) members may purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME. Fans who purchased 2016-17 men’s basketball season tickets but were not MAC members may also call on Monday to request tickets.

Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.

Kyle Lovern Lovern
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