This is one of my favorite times of the year as we head smack dab into tournament play, but it is also one of the busiest for sports writers.
It’s March Madness.
Locally, I now cover three main high schools – Tug Valley, Mingo Central and Belfry. I also try to get some scores and stats from Sheldon Clark and Phelps. The Panthers are now in Class A, Mingo in AA and Belfry in the 60th District. Then Sheldon Clark is in an entire different district, the 57th. (I think they should be in the 60th, but that’s another story. Lawrence County will join Belfry, Phelps and Pike Central in the 60th District next season.)
Not only do we have the boys’ basketball teams from each school, but the girls too. Then you have local middle school tournaments.
Throw in the upcoming conference tournaments for West Virginia, Marshall and Kentucky – that’s a lot to keep up with. Most average fans or readers have no idea how difficult it is to cover all of the teams.
Trying to get scoring and stats reports, getting photos and pairings as teams advance, is a lot to keep up with. Remember, I’m a one man department at a small town newspaper. I really do appreciate submitted pictures and those coaches and scorekeepers that report their scores and stats on a timely basis.
A big thank you needs to go out to local photographers/sports fans Wes Wilson, Kelly Caudill-Taylor, Kyle Hawkes, Greg Adkins, Teresa Gannon, Jenta Sartin-Cheung, Lola Lackey, Erik and Derek Rash and others – and I apologize ahead of time if I left out your name. Also, sports writers and editors sort of have a fraternity. Some will help you out and vice versa. We trade information and stats. That is also a big help and those who do exchange information, you know who you are.
But, I’ll do my best and hope you enjoy reading the stories.
Tuesday night’s recent battle between Mingo Central and Tug Valley was an instant classic. The Panthers trailed most of the game, but came from behind to pull out a thrilling victory. That my friends – is what makes high school basketball exciting.
… I was talking to Burch Middle School girls’ basketball coach Jeremy Davis after his team won the county title last Saturday. He had this to say about some of these players. “It was entirely a team effort this year. I could not be more proud of Kylee Varney, Alyssa Pack and Jamie Moore for the way they played in the tournament. They were amazing at doing the things that might not show up in a scorebook, but are essential to winning basketball games.”
… Charleston Catholic boys’ basketball coach Bill McClanahan recently told his players that the 2013-14 season will be his last. Many local teams have gone up against McClanahan’s squads in Class A, especially during the state tournament. Catholic has been to the state tournament the past nine seasons, and won three Class A state titles under McClanahan in 2006, 2007, and most recently in 2012.
… Next month’s Big 12 tournament at the Sprint Center has sold out for the fifth consecutive year, though standing-room tickets may become available closer to the event. As other conferences struggle to sell tickets, that has never been an issue for the Big 12 in Kansas City. This year’s tournament begins March 12. The championship game is March 15.
… The Big 12 Conference has named 29 student-athletes to the 2014 Academic All-Big 12 Men’s Basketball Team, the league office announced. For the second year in a row, junior Kevin Noreen has been named to the first team while Gary Browne has been tabbed a second-team selection.
… Several in-state players took the opportunity to declare their intentions to join the Marshall football program as preferred walk-ons. Jacob Jackson (George Washington), Chase Hancock (Woodrow Wilson), and Austin Hill (Nicholas County) have all signed to walk-on with The Herd. Khance Johnson (South Charleston), Josh Martin (Madonna), and Jake Parker (Meadow Bridge) also have offers to walk-on at Marshall. Mingo Central’s Alex Lee was also offered a chance to walk-on for the Herd, but chose to sign with Concord.
… John Calapari has gotten another highly touted guard, Charlie Matthews, of Chicago is headed to Kentucky to play basketball. Matthews announced his pledge to the Wildcats over interest from Illinois, Marquette, Kansas and Michigan State. Matthews is Kentucky’s first verbal commitment of the 2015 class. A five-star guard, Matthews is ranked No. 15 overall.
(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)