The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

February 4, 2014

Lady Bobcats back on top of the mountain

Summers County No. 1 in latest state AP rankings

The Summers County High School girls basketball program is back in a familiar position. After a run of five straight Class AA championships from 2007 through 2011, the Lady Bobcats missed the state tournament in each of the last two seasons.

Nobody expected head coach Wayne Ryan’s team to stay down for long.

After knocking off former Class AA No. 1 Westside on Friday, Summers County (13-0) is back on top of the latest Associated Press high school rankings, receiving 94 points and eight of 10 first-place votes to jump from third to first.

“It means that we’ve done something this year that we can be proud of for the moment,” said Ryan. “But it also means that people know about us now and are going to come after us.

“Bob Huggins has a saying that the dog with the bone better be in fear. We’ve got the bone now, and other people want it. So we better keep coming to play.”

Ryan said his still young team is growing up quickly, but the exciting part is that there’s still room for improvement.

The Lady Bobcats aren’t the only area team with realistic dreams of a state title. Westside (10-2) will still be a factor. The Lady Renegades (10-2) won the 2012 title and finished runner-up last spring. Their only losses this season were to Class AAA No. 1 Parkersburg South in the Big Atlantic Classic and to No. 1 Summers County on the road. They’re still in the mix in AA, as is PikeView (9-3), which came in at No. 10 this week and played Westside and Summers County close on the road their last two games.

In Class AAA, 2012 state champion Greenbrier East is still very much in the hunt. The No. 2 Spartans (13-1) lost their first game of the season in Saturday’s Big Atlantic Classic championship game against No. 1 Parkersburg South, but the Spartans didn’t shoot well, had very little production from top scorer Chaunté McDowell and still managed to keep the game close.

The only other area girls team getting recognition in the polls is Pocahontas County, ranked No. 6 in Class A. The Warriors (10-3) have won six of their last eight games.

The most interesting game on the girls schedule this week might be Summers County at PikeView on Thursday.

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In the boys rankings, both Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson made big jumps after impressive showings in the Big Atlantic Classic. Greenbrier East (11-3) beat a solid Preston team in a close game and then blew out No. 13 Lewis County for the championship a night after the Minutemen had knocked off then-No. 3 Capital.

The Flying Eagles, who were 8-2 heading into Monday’s game at Nitro, extended their winning streak to seven games over the weekend, blowing out both University and Hurricane, tied with Lewis County for 13th, to claim the other AAA BAC championship.

The two rivals schools are now in a tie for No. 4 in the latest poll, after East was eighth and Woodrow ninth last week.

In Class AA, Westside jumped three spots to No. 2 after impressive wins over Bluefield and Wyoming East in the Big Atlantic Classic. The Renegades received one first-place vote but came in behind Robert C. Byrd, the only undefeated team in the class.

Defending champion Bluefield (9-2) slipped to fourth, while Wyoming East (9-2) is fifth.

Nicholas County (9-3) moved into the poll for the first time this season at No. 9 after a lopsided win over Liberty. The Raiders fell out of the top 10, although they did receive one vote to come in at No. 14.

Greater Beckley’s losses to Charleston Catholic and Magnolia over the last couple of weeks didn’t cost the Crusaders too much in the rankings. GBC (9-3) fell just one spot to No. 5. Valley (11-1) received one first-place vote this week and jumped one spot to No. 8.

Games to watch on this week’s AAA schedule include Greenbrier East at Bluefield on Friday and Woodrow Wilson at home against George Washington tonight at 7:30 p.m. George Washington (9-3) is coming off a one-point loss at No. 2 South Charleston on Saturday. The Patriots received eight votes this week to come in at No. 12. The game will be played at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

Westside will host Greater Beckley in another showcase game of the night, and Westside and Wyoming East, who have split the first two games of their Wyoming County rivalry this season, will play again Friday at Westside.

— E-mail: chuffman@ and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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