The Scott Skyhawk boys basketball team soared into the state Class AA tournament next week at the Charleston Civic Center on the wings of a last-second victory over Poca. Coach Nick Cabell's squad picked up their victory Wednesday evening, March 6, at Poca in the Region IV showdown.
The Hawks, rated seventh in the Class A division, will meet Fairmont Senior in the tourney's opening round Thursday, March 14. The complete tournament line-up is included in a separate story in this issue.
Scott got into the tussle with the Dots when they fell to Tolsia in the section 2 title game last week. Under current tournament procedures, the runner-up in each of two sections meets the winner of the other section in a regional finale. The winners of those two games move on to the state tourney with the losers being eliminated from further post-season competition.
Cabell felt Scott's young team would likely be seeded between sixth and eighth in the Double A field. Eight teams from each of West Virginia's three classes go to the big dance in Charleston. Cabell said, "I just hope we aren't seeded eighth. It would be a severe test for a young team to have to play the number one team, Bluefield, first."
On the other hand, Cabell said he is "just happy to be going to Charleston." He added, "We got lucky Wednesday night."
That "luck" came on a Poca foul with just eight-tenths of a second remaining in the contest and Scott trailing by one. 20 stepped to the line and calmly sank two free throws. A desperation toss by Poca sailed innocently to the court and Scott had their one-point win and a ticket to Charleston.
After pairings for the tournament were announced over the weekend, Cabell said he and his coaching staff had looked at Fairmont Senior in game film. "They are fast and know how to get the ball up and down the floor," said the coach. "I've told our guys they'll have to get back on defense or we'll be in big trouble."
Nothing Cabell has seen scares him going into the contest, however. "They are good, no doubt," the mentor said. "But they are about on the level with some teams we play during the season from what I see on the film."
Being seeded seventh means Scott's young team must advance in a bracket that includes the number two team as the top squad. A finale against top-ranked Bluefield would take place on Saturday, if the Hawks make it through the first two rounds. During the regular season, Scott lost twice to the powerful Beavers.
Cabell expected the school to host a pep rally Thursday morning before the squad departs for Charleston. While he thought he might take team members to the tournament on Wednesday "to get used to the atmosphere," Cabell said they would return to Madison Wednesday evening. The coach said he was still undecided whether the squad would stay in Charleston if they win Thursday.
"We'll decide if we're staying in Charleston based on that first game," Cabell said.
Updates concerning the team will be available from this newspaper or fans can call my cellular phone, 304-533-5185, for any available information.