The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 15, 2013

Area strong again in AP rankings

The second Associated Press West Virginia high school boys basketball poll of the 2012-13 season was released Monday, and one thing is becoming obvious as the season moves past the halfway point. The Beckley area is going to play a major role in crowning state champions in all three classes.

This week, eight of the 30 teams ranked in the three classes call The Register-Herald coverage area home, and a few others are knocking on the door.

In Class AAA, two area teams found themselves inside the top 10, with Greenbrier East (11-0), one of just two undefeated AAA teams in the state, at No. 4 and Princeton (9-2) at No. 6. Woodrow Wilson made a rare journey outside the top 10, but the Flying Eagles (5-4) still picked up votes, coming in at No. 14 despite losing three of their last four.

Greenbrier East, Princeton and Woodrow Wilson are all included in Region 3, Section 2, which should make for an interesting postseason if the teams continue to progress like they have to this point. Shady Spring — with one of the state’s top scorers, Chase Connor — is also in that region, along with an improving Oak Hill squad that nearly knocked off Bluefield last week.

The other side of Region 3 includes South Charleston (9-1) — which is No. 2 in this week’s poll, behind only 9-0 Martinsburg — and George Washington, which came in at No. 11.

An area school led the way in Class AA, with Bluefield (7-1) in the top spot after a convincing win over Wyoming East last week. The Warriors (7-2) came in at No. 4 in this week’s poll. Their county rival Westside (6-4) took the final spot in the Class AA top 10. Liberty was just one vote behind Westside, coming in at No. 11. Summers County was No. 15, and Nicholas County picked up a vote to come in 17th.

Bluefield will be the clear favorite in Region 3, Section 2 — with no other ranked teams in that sectional — but Region 3, Section 1 could get very interesting with Liberty, Summers County, Westside and Wyoming East all involved.

Poca (9-1) is No. 2 in Class AA, just ahead of No. 3 Scott (8-2).

Valley (5-0) is the only undefeated team left in Class A but still trying to gain some respect, coming in at No. 8 in this week’s poll. The Greyhounds are one vote in front of No. 9 Greenbrier West (8-2), which fell to Valley last week. Greater Beckley Christian (4-1) suffered its first loss of the year last week, falling on the road at No. 3 Tug Valley, but was still able to sneak into the top 10, tied with Tygarts Valley at No. 10. Meadow Bridge is the other area team to pick up votes, coming in at No. 16.

The Class A regionals are also shaping up to be plenty entertaining. Valley, Greenbrier West and Midland Trail will all battle it out in Region 3, Section 2, while Greater Beckley will have to face Tug Valley in Region 3, Section 1.

Charleston Catholic (7-1) is the No. 1 team in Class A, just ahead of Magnolia (8-2).

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It’s not just the area boys who are likely to make some noise in Charleston this March, either. The defending girls champions in Class AAA and Class AA — Greenbrier East and Westside, respectively — are both ranked No. 1 again, and seven of the 30 ranked teams in all three classes come from the area.

The Spartans (9-0) are on top of the Class AAA poll as the only undefeated left in the state’s largest class, but Region 3, Section 2 rival Princeton (8-2) is also in the poll, tied with Huntington at No. 6.

In Class AA, the Renegades (10-0) are the only undefeated remaining, and thus held down the top spot. Summers County (9-1) is No. 4, while Nicholas County (10-1) is fifth, giving the area three of the top five in that class. James Monroe also received a couple of votes and came in tied for 13th.

There weren’t as many area teams close to the top in Class A, but Valley (8-1) did come in at No. 7 and Pocahontas County (9-4) at No. 8. Fayetteville also received votes and was ranked 12th.

Saint Joseph Central (9-1) topped the Class A poll, just ahead of Wheeling Central (11-1), St. Mary’s (9-1) and Clay-Battelle (12-0).

— E-mail: and follow on Twitter @CamHuffman RH.

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