By Cam Huffman
Woodrow Wilson and South Charleston split a pair of regular season meetings on the hardwood. The rubber game will be for a spot in the Class AAA state championship.
The No. 2 seed Flying Eagles (22-4) and the No. 3 seed Black Eagles (23-2) will meet tonight in a Class AAA semifinal, rounding out a busy third day of the boys high school basketball tournament at the Charleston Civic Center at 9 p.m.
Woodrow beat Hurricane 63-54 in a Wednesday quarterfinal, while South Charleston held off Morgantown 48-39 Thursday in its quarterfinal contest.
The first two meetings between the two Mountain State Athletic Conference rivals couldn’t have been more different.
South Charleston came to the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center and won 51-44 on Jan. 8, handing Woodrow its second straight loss and the third in four games. Tied 24-all at halftime, South Charleston outscored the Flying Eagles 18-6 in the third quarter and held on to hand Beckley its third-straight loss at home, something that had never happened before in the history of the BRCCC.
Ra’shaud Kincaid, who averages nine points per game, scored 15 points for South Charleston in that low-scoring affair, while A.D. Cunningham, who averages 13.6 points per game, added 10.
The Flying Eagle team that traveled to the South Charleston Community Center for the MSAC championship game on Feb. 16, though, was a much different squad. After starting 4-4, Beckley came into that contest on a 12-game winning streak, and it dominated the state’s second-ranked team, winning 77-60 to claim its first MSAC championship.
Woodrow started fast, forcing Black Eagle turnovers and shooting the lights out to open up a 44-31 halftime lead. Four players scored in double figures, led by 25 from Donte Nabors, who’s averaging 21 points per game.
Point guard Andrew Johnson, who averages 12.6, scored 16 that night, while Chase Hancock scored 19 and freshman center NeQuan Carrington 12.
Woodrow has since won five more in a row and will bring an 18-game winning streak into tonight’s game.
South Charleston, though, hasn’t lost since that setback against Woodrow and should be playing with confidence after knocking out Nathan Adrian and Morgantown in the quarterfinals.
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Today’s other Class AAA semifinal is also a repeat of a regular season game. In fact, No. 1 Martinsburg (24-2) and No. 4 Washington (21-5) have already played three times.
Martinsburg has won all three — 72-58 on Jan. 4, 61-42 on Jan. 29 and 61-55 in the sectional finals on March 1.
Washington, though, has clearly closed the gap, and it’s not likely to be intimidated by the top-ranked Bulldogs.
That semifinal is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.
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Today’s action will begin at 9:30 a.m. when No. 3 Charleston Catholic and No. 7 Wheeling Central meet in a Class A semifinal. A Class AA semifinal between No. 6 Bridgeport and No. 2 Fairmont senior will follow at 11:15, with a 1 p.m. Class A meeting between No. 1 Tug Valley and No. 4 Tucker County concluding the morning session.
The evening session begins with the Martinsburg-Washington game, followed by the Class AA final between No. 1 Bluefield and No. 4 Robert C. Byrd at 7:15 p.m.
Those two teams met in the Big Atlantic Classic, with Bluefield winning 72-56.
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH