By Paul Adkins
LOGAN - The old sports cliche says you can throw out the records when you get to post-season tournament play.
That held true on Wednesday night as the Chapmanville Regional High School boys’ basketball team played Mingo Central in the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 semifinals at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena.
The Tigers came into the game ranked No. 9 in the state and had handled the Miners twice during the regular season to the tune of 53-27 and 54-45.
Mingo Central, however, was improved and surging late in the season, and, with the late addition of 6-foot-7 transfer and impact player Dikembe Dixson, this was a game that was going to go right down to the wire.
It did just that.
The Miners gave Chapmanville all it wanted but in the end, the Tigers escaped with a 48-44 win to advance to the sectional championship game with Scott. Chapmanville (18-5) is set to meet Scott (16-6) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Logan.
The win not only moves the Tigers into the sectional finals it also advances Chapmanville to next week’s Class AA Region 4 co-championship game, something that has eluded the Tigers the last three seasons. Chapmanville last made it to the regional finals in 2010 when the Tigers lost 63-53 to Sissonville.
Wednesday night’s sectional game between Chapmanville and Mingo Central amounted to an elimination game. The Miners, coached by Harts native and former Logan High School assistant coach Brad Napier, saw their season come to a close at 11-12.
The Tigers and the Miners put on a show before a packed house at Willie Akers Arena.
Chapmanville had the early upper hand, jumping out to a 10-0 lead. Down by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, the Miners picked up their defensive intensity, trying to deny Chapmanville top scorer and shooter Josh Butcher the ball.
It worked as the Miners closed the gap to 23-18 at the half. Mingo Central then took charge in the third, going on a 13-2 run and taking a five-point lead.
The game was tied 33-33 after three and was not decided until the closing seconds.
Butcher, a 6-0 junior guard, hit two huge 3-pointers for Chapmanville at the 5:00 mark and with 4:00 to go to jumpstart the Tigers.
Chapmanville then sealed it by hitting key free throws down the stretch. With 47.6 ticks to go, Zac Casto nailed two foul shots to put Chapmanville on top 46-43.
Dixson was fouled with 35.9 seconds left but could only manage a split as it was a 46-44 ballgame.
Chapmanville’s Trey Dalton then hit one of two free throws with 32.6 seconds remaining to up the margin to 47-44.
Mingo Central looked to tie it but Alex Lee’s topside 3-pointer with 10 seconds left clanged off the rim no good. Mingo Central’s Julius Hatcher snatched the rebound and was fouled, smartly, by the Tigers given the 3-point margin.
Hatcher missed the first free throw and had to intentionally miss the second one, hoping for a Miner rebound and 3-point attempt. Dalton, however, grabbed the rebound for the Tigers and he was hacked. He then stepped to the line and split, putting the game away.
Butcher led Chapmanville with 16 points. Dalton had 11, while Casto had seven, Brady Cox six, Kenny Plumley five and Joe Tackett three.
Dalton Hatfield led the Miners with a 15-point effort. Mali May had 10, while Dixson was held to six points. Stevie Hammond and Hatcher tossed in four points each. Lee, the second leading scorer on the team behind Dixson, was held to only five points.
Plumley led the Tigers on the boards with six rebounds. Dixson had nine. Mingo Central turned the ball over only 10 times. The Tigers had even fewer with six.