By Steve Keenan
For The Register-Herald
The Valley High boys basketball team would love to follow its female counterpart in qualifying for the 2013 state basketball tournament.
But, the Class A No. 10 Greyhounds have a big task ahead of them before they accomplish that goal.
Valley (17-7) faces Class A No. 6 Greater Beckley Christian (18-5) at 7 p.m. tonight at Smithers in one of two Region 3 co-finals. No. 1 Tug Valley will host Greenbrier West in the other. The winners of each of those games will advance to next week’s state tournament.
“We’ve scouted them a couple of times, and our boys played against them in the Midland Trail summer league,” said Valley coach Joe McCoy. “We know the (Keith) Mullins kid and (Elisha) Kidd can shoot. You’ve got to have somebody on them.
“And Staunton (Javonne Staunton-Bailey) is their engine. He makes them go. We have to keep him from penetrating.”
Valley will be led by junior Raeshawn Breckenridge, who’s averaging 14.6 points a game and has 129 rebounds and 57 steals. Freshman Zac Warden is scoring at a 12.3 ppg clip and has pulled down 155 rebounds and blocked 39 shots. Senior Arik McGinnis (8.5 ppg, 75 assists, 30 3-pointers), freshman Henry Barron (8.1 ppg), freshman Druw Bowen (7.8 ppg, 108 rebounds), senior Cody Winter (4.4 ppg) and junior Keyshawn Payne (6.8 ppg) are among the other major contributors.
Greater Beckley Christian coach Dan Burd calls Valley “real athletic and real fast. They like to play an up-tempo game.”
And it’s up to the Crusaders to stop them, he added. “For us, it comes down to defense. We predicate everything we do on our defense. We have to play solid defense.”
Mullins, a senior guard, is averaging about 19 points per game for Greater Beckley, which lost to Tug Valley in the Section 1 championship. Staunton-Bailey, the point guard, checks in at about 17 ppg, while Kidd, a sophomore three-guard, scores about 14 ppg. The two interior starters are sophomore Brent Daniels (6 to 8 ppg) and freshman Anthony Helton (about 4 ppg).
“I think overall we’re playing pretty good,” said Burd. “We didn’t come out of the gate early (against Tug Valley, which hasn’t lost at home since 2010),
“I think (tonight) is going to be a good game myself. It will be two teams with similar personnel. It will come down to what guards can make the plays.”
“I’m glad we’re playing at home,” McCoy said. “It was a great environment the other night (section championship win over Greenbrier West).”
— Steve Keenan