Girls basketball: Realignment shakes up postseason lineups
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The high school girls basketball season may be just over a week old, but it is never too early to start looking ahead to the postseason.
The reclassification of schools this year resulted in some significant changes in sectional and regional lineups.
The Class AAA Region 3, Section 1 grouping of George Washington, Capital and Ripley now includes South Charleston and Riverside.
Parkersburg and Parkersburg South move north to Region 1, Section 1.
Riverside had been thrown in with the southern part of the state in recent years, while the Black Eagles had headed west.
"From our standpoint we don't mind it so much," George Washington Coach Jamie LaMaster said. "We feel comfortable with this alignment."
There is one change that does cause him a little concern.
"The only real unknown is how John Testa is going to do at South Charleston,"
LaMaster said. "He has a team that had made it to the last three state tournaments and then lost all five starters and their coach."
Oak Hill and Shady Spring move into Region 3, Section 2, along with Greenbrier East, Princeton and Beckley.
In addition to Riverside leaving that section, Nicholas County dropped to Class AA.
Point Pleasant replaces South Charleston in Class AAA Region 3, Section 1.
Returning in that section are St. Albans, Hurricane, Nitro and Winfield.
Region 4, Section 2 remains unchanged with Cabell Midland, Huntington, Lincoln County, Logan and Spring Valley.
Region 1 becomes even more interesting as traditional powers Parkersburg South and Wheeling Park both land in Section 1. Meanwhile, in Section 2, another pair of historically strong programs, John Marshall and Morgantown, will fight it out.
Bridgeport ended up in Region 2, Section 2 along with Grafton, Liberty-Harrison, Lincoln, Philip Barbour and Robert C. Byrd. The Indians were runner-up in Class AAA last season and returned all of their key players, including state Player of the Year candidate Mikki Glenn.
Eastern Panhandle teams make up Section 1.
Traditional Class AA power Summers County was in the same region as 2012 state champion Westside, but those teams will be in the same section this year.
Oak Hill and Shady Spring moved up to Class AAA and out of Class AA Region 2, Section 1.
Summers County moved from Section 2 with the remaining schools in Section 2 staying the same.
Local teams Poca, Herbert Hoover and Sissonville all remain in Region 4, Section 1 along with Clay. Sherman drops out after being reclassified to Class A and Nicholas County drops into the Tide's spot.
Charleston Catholic probably suffers the most from the new alignment.
The Irish had been in Class A Region 4 for years, but had only needed to contend with four-time defending state champion Huntington St. Joseph in most seasons.
That meant they could still get to the state tournament.
The other teams in the old Region 4 were Buffalo, Hannan, Wahama, Van and Man.
Charleston Catholic is now in Section 2 with Buffalo, Hannan, Wahama and St. Joseph.
Section 1 now includes traditional powers Parkersburg Catholic and Williamstown, along with Wirt County, Calhoun County, Doddridge County and Gilmer County.
Last season St. Joseph, Wheeling Central, Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic finished ranked in the top 10.
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SPEAKING OF Charleston Catholic's problems, you can add another to the list for new Coach Paul Sutherland.
Starting guard Hanna Gallian tore her ACL before last week's opening game and is out for the season. She joins sophomores Catherine Bandak and Peri Bailey, who also tore an ACL, on the Irish sidelines.
"It's unbelievable," Sutherland said. "One thing is that a lot of girls are going to gain valuable experience this season."
All three were projected starters with Gallian and Bandak counted on to provide a good portion of the scoring.
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ONE PLAYER who is not missing the season is Greenbrier East senior Bianca Andre'.
It had originally been thought she was leaving the defending Class AAA state champions to return to Tennessee, along with fellow starters Anna Hammaker and Cheyenne Hooper.
But Andre', who is in her third year at Greenbrier East, changed her mind. Hammaker and Hooper were freshmen last season.
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IT LOOKS LIKE Bridgeport's move to Class AA has had no effect on its star guard, Mikki Glenn.
In her first three games she is averaging 21 points, six assists and six rebounds.
Glenn and St. Joseph junior Mychael Johnson seem to be the two most talked about candidates for this season's state Player of the Year award.