With the girls primed for state tournament action starting Wednesday, the boys begin their quest for state tournament berths this week when regional play tips off across West Virginia.
Eight Class AAA games will be played Tuesday, with eight Class A games set for Wednesday and eight Class AA games rounding out the hardwood action Thursday.
The eight winners in each class will head to the Capital City for the state tournament, which starts March 18 at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
Each regional contest will start at 7 p.m.
In Region 3 play around the area, Woodrow Wilson hosts St. Albans Tuesday, while Princeton travels to George Washington. Greater Beckley Christian will host Webster County and Mount View heads on the road to Charleston Catholic on Wednesday. Thursday's Class AA action will have Shady Spring going to Clear Fork for a battle with Westside and Independence will tangle with Bluefield in the Brushfork Armory.
The Flying Eagles and the Red Dragons met once during the regular season, with Woodrow earning a 73-61 win in Beckley. Since that game, St. Albans has won nine of its last 12, including seven straight wins before falling to George Washington in the sectional championship game Friday.
Junior Jaimelle Claytor is a drive-and-dish threat for St. Albans (16-8) and leads a trio of double-digit scorers that includes seniors Rodney Toler and Ethan Clay.
Woodrow Wilson (17-7) enters regional play riding an eight-game winning streak, led by the dominant inside presence of Ben Gilliam, along with Richard Law up top and Ayden Ince, who creates mismatches down low and on the perimeter.
After nearly pulling off an upset over Woodrow Wilson in the sectional championship game, Princeton (16-8) will have another tough task trying to beat the Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament champion on its home floor.
Mason Pinkett leads George Washington (18-5), scoring nearly 18 points per game. The Tigers will need big performances from Ethan Parsons and Peyton Brown to pull off the shocker.
Delathan Wilborn scored 30 against Woodrow and will also need to show up big against the Patriots.
Shady Spring (22-2) and Westside met twice during the regular season with the Tigers winning both games by double digits.
The Renegades did not go away easily in either contest. With a trip to the state tournament on the line and playing at home, Westside (13-10) will again be a tough battle for the Tigers.
Westside is led by Ethan Blackburn, Daniel Reed and Jace Colucci, who create tough athletic matchups, and Tommy Milam creates a size mismatch inside. Shady will counter with one of the state's best guard tandems in Tommy Williams and Luke LeRose, who have been complemented nicely this year by freshman twins Cole and Braden Chapman.
Independence has been somewhat the surprise team this year under first-year head coach Mike Green, but the Patriots face a monumental task against Bluefield — literally. The Beavers lineup is littered with scorers and 6-foot-7 big man Sean Martin is a shot-eraser in the paint.
Michael McKinney and Jared Cannady are prolific scorers from outside and will need big nights if the Patriots are to have a chance.
Greater Beckley Christian entered the season as one of the favorites to win the state championship in Class A and the Crusaders have done little to change that status.
Led by a senior dominated team, Greater Beckley (19-4) gets 14 points apiece each night from seniors Elijah Edwards and Isaiah Hairston, while senior Thad Jordan adds 12 points and sophomore Kaden Smallwood chips in 10 points per game.
The Crusaders beat Webster County by 39 points in their first regular season meeting. However, the Highlanders made it interesting in Upper Glade before Greater Beckley pulled out a 10-point win.
Webster will need a strong shooting night from behind the arc to neutralize the inside strength of the Crusaders.
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