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Girls basketball: Greenbrier East last unbeaten Class AAA team

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The list of unbeaten teams in Class AAA girls basketball has gone from three to one after last week's games.

Only defending champion Greenbrier East is still standing with an unblemished 8-0 record.

Princeton fell 69-65 at Huntington and University lost 67-66 at home to John Marshall on Wednesday.

The means the Spartans are now ranked No. 1.

"On day one, when I saw the girls, I didn't know if we could win five or six games," Greenbrier East Coach Jim Justice said. "I told them the only way we had a chance was to change everything."

The Spartans lost their starting point guard and their 6-foor-6 center from last season's team.

Justice could see just one way to make up for losing that much talent.

"I told them we had to be the toughest, scrappiest, most hustling team out there," he said. "I gave them four points to remember - rebound, rebound, rebound and play defense."

So far the players have taken those words to heart.

The returning players have also shown that they are highly motivated to prove that they are still a team to be reckoned with even with the loss of two key starters.

"They are hustling all over the floor," Justice said. "They want to show that they have some juice in their tanks."

The Spartans have shown great balance so far this season making it difficult for opponents to key on any one or two players.

"Liz Romeo and Chloe Honaker have played extremely well and Chaunte McDowell has been solid every night," Justice said. "Bianca (Andre) had been inconsistent and lackluster but her last performance was very solid and we're hoping to build off of that."

He is not too sure about the top ranking.

"Are they the No. 1 team in the state? I don't know about that," Justice said. "Do they deserve it? Yes."

While he has coached the Greenbrier East girls team for 13 years, Justice is in only his second season also coaching the Spartans' boys squad.

They are undefeated at 9-0.

"As for the boys," Justice said. "I thought, on the first day, that they would be better than what they were."

Though he saw a lot of athleticism there was not much discipline in their games.

"They have learned how to play athletically within a system" Justice said. "They are a heck of a team now."

So how does it feel to be coaching two undefeated teams?

"That is unbelievable," Justice said. "But we've worked really hard, both teams."

No high school coach in West Virginia has ever coached both a boys and a girls state championship basketball team.

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OUTSIDE OF Class AAA, there are four undefeated girls teams left in the state including Westside, the defending Class AA champion, at 8-0.

Class A has 9-0 St. Marys, 10-0 Clay-Battelle, and 6-0 Valley.

None of those teams play each other this season.

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GOOD NEWS out of Poca: Senior Madi McGrew only hyper-extended her knee and did not tear an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) as previously feared when she fell during a game last week.

McGrew leads the Dots with 11.3 points per game.

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EXPECT TO be hearing more about Logan as the season goes on.

While the Wildcats' boys program is having a rare down season, the girls program is taking off.

Friday night Logan rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to upset then-third-ranked Morgantown 64-61.

That comes a couple of weeks after the Wildcats rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat Huntington, another top-10 team.

Logan currently has a 5-2 record with a 50-48 loss to South Charleston and a 64-48 loss at Class AA number one Westside. Both came early in the season.

The Wildcats are a young team being led by 5-foot-11 sophomore Shayna Gore and 6-2 freshman Monica Mitchell.

Gore scored 25 points in the win over Morgantown.


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