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Girls basketball: Despite superior record, SA stuck with No. 2 seed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Sometimes it doesn't matter how long one has coached. There can still be surprises.

St. Albans girls basketball Coach Scott James can attest to that.

"I don't understand how you beat everybody in your section and end up being the second seed," James said. "Somebody is going to have to explain it to me."

His Red Dragons finished the season with an overall record of 12-10 and beat Winfield, Hurricane, Nitro and Point Pleasant. Those are the four other teams in Class AAA, Region 4, Section 1.

Yet somehow Winfield, 11-11 overall and 2-1 against sectional opponents, is the top seed and will face the winner between Hurricane (6-16) and Point Pleasant (7-15).

That leaves St. Albans to play host to an 11-11 Nitro squad Wednesday in the opening round. The Red Dragons scored a narrow 36-32 win over the Wildcats in the regular season.

"I just don't know what to say," James said. "We'll just have to take care of business Wednesday."

Section 2 may be the toughest in the state with Huntington, Spring Valley, Cabell Midland, and Logan all having the potential to make a postseason run.

* * *

AROUND THE time Huntington and George Washington were tipping off in the championship game of the Mountain State Athletic Conference on Saturday at the South Charleston Community Center,  Greenbrier East was beating Fayetteville to finish the regular season a perfect 22-0.

Many watching the Highlanders roll over the Patriots for a second time this season had to be yearning for what might have been if the defending state champion and top-ranked Spartans had stayed in the MSAC.

The matchups could've consisted of No. 2 Spring Valley playing No. 8 George Washington in the third-place game and No. 1 Greenbrier East taking on No. 3 Huntington for the crown.

Of course, that could also have been a nightmare scenario for the Spartans.

Last year they entered the MSAC Night of Champions undefeated and lost 65-52 to third-ranked South Charleston for what would be their only loss of the season.

* * *

SPEAKING OF Saturday's MSAC Night of Champions, here are a couple of other points of interest.

Spring Valley won the third-place game for the second consecutive year.

George Washington has now lost in the title game three of the last four years.

It was Huntington's second Night of Champions title.

South Charleston has the most girls crowns with four followed by Capital with three.

* * *

THE OTHER Class AAA sectional involving area schools is Region 3, Section 1, with George Washington, Capital, South Charleston, Riverside and Ripley.

The Patriots (14-8) earned the top seed. They will open Wednesday at home against the winner of Monday's game between Riverside (6-17) and Ripley (0-19).

The Black Eagles visit the Cougars, also on Wednesday.

The other half of the region contains Greenbrier East and Princeton.

* * * 

AREA CLASS AA teams will be competing in Region 4, Section 1, and it is a good one.

Clay and Sissonville square off Wednesday in a game that will knock out one top 10 team. Herbert Hoover (12-10) took its first winning record into postseason play since 1996 and faced Poca Monday night, but the Dots handed the Huskies a 46-37 loss (see story, page 1B).

Poca plays top 10 Nicholas County on Wednesday.

Tolsia, Chapmanville and Scott are also in Section 2.

* * *

IN CLASS A there are two area schools and they play each other in the first round.

Buffalo takes a 13-game winning streak to Charleston Catholic on Wednesday.

"I think our tougher schedule will make a difference," Catholic Coach Paul Sutherland said.

In a rebuilding year, the Irish have been decimated by injuries on the way to an 8-13 finish.

Buffalo stands at 15-4.

The Region 4, Section 2 winner will likely face top-ranked St. Joseph.

The other half of the region contains Parkersburg Catholic, Gilmer County and Williamstown, who have all been in the top 10 most of the season.

Contact sportswriter J.T. Simms at jtsimms@dailymail.com or 304-348-1735. 


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