By Cam Huffman
The Big Atlantic Classic gave some teams a chance to prove just how strong they were, exposed others as pretenders instead of contenders and gave our panel of Power Ranking voters a chance to see a number of area teams compete head-to-head or against other strong teams from around the state.
As a result, the rankings have been shuffled a great deal this week.
Woodrow Wilson was the big mover on the boys side, moving past Greenbrier East and all the way to No. 2, while Summers County took a dip on the girls side after a surprising loss to PikeView.
The Register-Herald power rankings will be released each Monday for the remainder of the high school basketball season. The rankings are designed to rank area boys and girls teams, based on the strength within their class. Ranking Class A Greater Beckley above Class AAA Shady Spring, for example, doesn’t mean that we believe Greater Beckley is a better team and would beat Shady Spring in a head-to-head battle. It simply means that we believe Greater Beckley is a stronger force within Class A than Shady Spring is within Class AAA.
Five voters — assistant sports editor Gary Fauber, sports editor Cam Huffman, sports writer J. Daniel Rollins, sports writer Dan Stillwell and sports clerk Rusty Udy — will rank their top 10 boys teams and top 10 girls teams each week. Teams will receive 10 points for a first place vote, nine for a second place vote and on down to one for a 10th place vote. The points will be tallied and the teams ranked in order.
Here are this week’s power rankings, with total votes in parentheses.
1. Bluefield (50) — The Class AA No. 1 Beavers (13-1) look virtually unstoppable. They’ve won 11 straight and easily captured the Class AA title at the Big Atlantic Classic, beating Westside and Robert C. Byrd, with a win over Summers County in between.
2. Woodrow Wilson (43) — Once 4-4 and considered far from a favorite even in their own sectional, the Class AAA No. 10 Flying Eagles (12-4) have now won eight straight and are being discussed as a major contender for the Class AAA state title. Last week, they beat Shady Spring, George Washington, Lewis County and Morgantown all in convincing fashion.
3. Greenbrier East (38) — The Class AAA No. 4 Spartans (16-1) suffered their first loss of the season last week, falling to Point Pleasant at the Big Atlantic Classic. But they responded with a win over a quality Musselman team the next time out.
4. Greater Beckley (33) — The Class A No. 8 Crusaders (9-1) are continuing to gain recognition around the state. They beat River View and Man last week and had a huge meeting with Magnolia rescheduled because of whether.
5. Westside (30) — Considered “the other guys” in Wyoming County early in the year, the Class AA No. 8 Renegades (11-6) seem to be improving every time out. They had a huge week, beating the rival Warriors after losing a tough fight with Bluefield in the Class AA bracket of the Big Atlantic Classic.
6. Wyoming East (28) — The Class AA No. 3 Warriors (10-5) saw their stock drop this week after losing to Robert C. Byrd and Westside in the Big Atlantic Classic.
7. Princeton (18) — The Tigers (11-4) fell out of the Class AAA top 10 but still could play a huge role in a sectional that also includes Greenbrier East and Woodrow Wilson.
8. Summers County (13) — The Class AA Bobcats (8-5) weren’t really in the game against Bluefield this week, but TaRon Ayers continues to make them a factor.
9. Greenbrier West (12) — The 10th-ranked team in Class A, the Cavaliers (9-3) beat Midland Trail to start the week and then knocked off Moorefield in a close game in the first round of the Big Atlantic Classic. The end, a loss to Tygarts Valley, wasn’t what they had hoped to find.
10. Valley (7) — The Greyhounds (9-4) didn’t help their case much at the Big Atlantic Classic. They lost to both Tygarts Valley and Moorefield, with a win over Man away from the Classic in between.
Others receiving votes: Nicholas County 3.
1. Westside (49) — The defending Class AA state champions and No. 1-ranked team lost its first game in more than two seasons this week, falling to University at the Big Atlantic Classic. The Renegades (15-1) responded with a convincing win over St. Albans.
2. Greenbrier East (46) — The defending Class AAA champions and No. 1-ranked Spartans (14-0) continue to find ways to win. They beat two ranked teams this week in No. 7 Preston and No. 6 University at the Big Atlantic Classic.
3. Princeton (38) — The fifth-ranked team in Class AAA, the Tigers (13-2) beat Woodrow Wilson last week but had their matchup with Shady Spring canceled because of snow.
4. Nicholas County (36) — The Class AA No. 3 Grizzlies (14-2) blew out PikeView to begin the week but were crushed by Parkersburg South at the Big Atlantic Classic.
5. Summers County (27) — The snow has led to a light schedule for the Class AA No. 6 Bobcats (11-4), who haven’t played since falling to PikeView on Jan. 25. They’ll be busy this week with a number of makeup games.
6. Pocahontas County (25) — The sixth-ranked team in Class A, the Warriors (12-4) couldn’t take the court last week because of the winter weather.
7. Valley (20) — Ranked No. 8 in Class A, the Greyhounds (9-4) lost to Fayetteville in a lopsided game early in the week but bounced back to beat Richwood.
8. Fayetteville (18) — The Pirates (9-3), ranked No. 10 in Class A, pulled off a big win over Valley to improve their resumé.
9. Meadow Bridge (9) — The Wildcats (11-5) have won six of their last eight games and are a different team than the one that dropped three straight in early January.
10. PikeView (5) — The Panthers (7-8) couldn’t back up their big win over Summers County, falling to Woodrow Wilson last week to drop below .500.
Others receiving votes: Woodrow Wilson 1, Wyoming East 1.