The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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High School Sports

February 12, 2014

Pick 3: Our thoughts on topics impacting the games we love

(Continued)

BECKLEY — 3) Should the basketball state tournament format be changed? If so, how?

If you’ve spent any time with me in the months leading up to the start of the season or follow me on Twitter, one thing you’ll notice is I absolutely love high school basketball. I’m lucky to get to cover this game for a living and see some of the best area teams night after night.

It seems there are some fans and journalists around the state who are arguing that the state basketball tournament would be better served by sending the top 8 teams to Charleston and eliminating the sectional and regional rounds altogether. Where’s the drama in that?

In fact, in 2003, while serving as the editor for the Independence High School newspaper, the underdog Patriots knocked off Liberty in the sectional and Bluefield in the regional to make an improbable trip to the state tournament. It’s a moment I’ll never forget and it cemented names like Scott Bailey, Zack Gordon and Scott Wilson in Independence basketball lore.

Would it be nice to see the best teams make it to Charleston? Sure. But let’s not do so at the risk of losing the magical moment when Cinderella makes it to the ball.

Anything can happen in March and a win in the sectional and regional can be just as big as a win in Charleston. To quote a man who knows a little about championships, Ric Flair, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man!” That can happen anywhere along the road to the state tournament. Instead of arguing about what’s fair, how about we all just buckle up and enjoy the ride?

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