BUFFALO, W.Va. — The best test for success comes from intense, stressful situations that prepare athletes to make correct decisions when later presented with similar scenarios in the clutch.
With that mindset in tow, Buffalo Coach Chuck Elkins thinks the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament will condition the Bison for a postseason run. Buffalo, ranked sixth in Class A, opens the tournament to play host to Fayetteville (1-10) at 7:30 p.m. today.
"It's a pressure situation, and any time you play in a pressure situation, you have to get better," Elkins said of the tournament.
Buffalo (12-1) enters as the defending WVHIT champ and earned the tournament's South Division No. 1 seed with a 63-54 victory against Valley (Fayette) on Friday.
The third-annual tournament features 24 Class A public schools competing for large- and small-division state championships.
Buffalo junior Laythen Good said the Bison understand the benefit of such a midseason tournament.
"It gets us prepared for the state championship, plus no team has come into this back-to-back, so we want to be the first team," he said.
"It would also give us a big momentum boost. We'll see different teams, better teams, hopefully get us more prepared."
The preparation is certainly not lost on Levi Jordan, who leads a senior class that has not reached the State Tournament.
"Personally, I've never been to the State Tournament yet, but it's high hopes to kind of get what the atmosphere is like there, and hopefully we can win it," Jordan said.
The State Tournament is still far from Elkins' mind, however. "We don't even talk about that," he said. "That's at the end of the season. If we play two good games (in the regional tournament), we'll make it. We don't play two good games, we'll go home."