Boys high school basketball state tourney set to begin

Last updated: March 18. 2014 8:13AM - 1324 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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The great news this week is that the Chapmanville Regional High School Tigers are in Charleston for their first-ever appearance in the state boys basketball tournament. Among the bad news items are that Scott is NOT there — and numerous CRHS fans and others honestly seem to believe that this is their “first boys state tournament appearance in 70 years.”


That CRHS has existed just seven years does nothing to deter those who want to play and replay the storybook tale that, after decades of frustration, Chapmanville is finally in the state boys big dance. Here’s the big problem with that: Chapmanville High STILL isn’t in the state tournament; Chapmanville REGIONAL High School is. Chapmanville High never made the state boys tournament and now, NEVER will. There is NO Chapmanville High School. It exists only in the memories of those who are re-enforced by a lazy, facts-be-damned media that would rather tell a feel-good story that isn’t true than be bothered with the facts.


There also is no Harts High School; no Hamlin High School, no Buffalo of Wayne (and, thus, no reason for the incessant media repetition identifying “Buffalo of Putnam.”) THAT’S the only Buffalo High there is in West Virginia, folks. In Putnam County. And the name of the school is NOT Buffalo of Putnam; it is Buffalo High School.


As this column is written on Sunday, I have not even seen the media bombardment of the news that this is “Chapmanville High’s first trip to the boys state tournament in — pick it — 50, 60, 70 or whatever years. ” Let me repeat: it is NOT. The Chapmanville Tigers cannot — and will not — appear in the state finals. They do not EXIST.


So, when Head Coach Alan Hatcher talks about “decades of frustration,” all he is doing is re-enforcing the fallacy that Chapmanville High still operates. By doing so, he is insulting the Harts/Lincoln County athletes who attend CRHS. Perhaps the old Harts High stars who have helped lead CRHS to greatness in several sports SHOULD just head off to Scott or George Washington or … Lord have mercy, Lincoln County.


Chapmanville REGIONAL High School is a consolidation of the FORMER Chapmanville High and Harts. One can add the late Sharples High to that consolidation list, but Chapmanvillians who forget about Harts have long ignored the old Sharples High. Chapmanville High can no more make its first appearance at the tournament than Williamson or Gilbert or … the list goes on and on.


I pointed out last week that I have great affection for the people of Chapmanville and CRHS. I acknowledge a soft spot for the Tigers. But, just because I feel good about CRHS is no reason for me to absolutely promote a falsehood to the public. As I have often pointed out, no newspaper ever employed me to be a “cheerleader” for the local team or to write feel-good stories that are not true. If that is what someone wants, they will never get it here. Still, I am a human being with personal feelings. I like the Tigers; always have and always will.


I would love to see CRHS win the Double A boys state championship — for the first time ever.


* * * * * *


I heard more explanations of the phantom two-point shot that decided the Scott-CRHS regional game than, as folks used to say, Carter’s has Little Liver Pills. Current athletes would have no idea what Carter I’m talking about; forget the little pills.


Supporters who want to proclaim that referees, such as Joe Oliverio who made the errant call, are infallible are simply wrong. Oliverio is a good game official, but he made a terrible mistake at Logan in calling Logan Webb’s three-pointer a deuce. He made a major mistake in raising his hand to indicate a three-pointer was being shot and then insisting, five seconds later, that it was a two.


He and his supporters make a bigger mistake in trying to defend the miscue. From hearing that Oliverio said he “raised my arm and held up two fingers” to “he has to raise BOTH arms to show a three is being shot,” the stories are incredible. If Oliverio decided to indicate a deuce was in flight, why on earth would he have raised his arm exactly as all West Virginia officials do for a three? Why not point out it was a two by putting his arm straight out or down, for heaven’s sake.


Even Hatcher would never answer the media question, “was it a three or two, coach?” His answer? “They put two in the scorebook.” Ah, that means he likely KNOWS it was a three — just as every legitimate video or photo of the shot shows.


If someone from CRHS really believed Webb’s shot was a two, wouldn’t they have offered a video that showed his feet across the three-point line? Where is THAT video or still shot? Nowhere, because it doesn’t exist. And that’s because Webb’s shot DID legitimately tie the game but the official took it from him.


Sadly, we will never know what would have happened in a correctly-officiated game. But, whatever happened there, Chapmanville High School is STILL not in the state boys basketball tournament.


CRHS is and that’s great.


* * * * * *


An Indianapolis sports writer asked me how it was possible for the official to rule Webb’s shot a two when he and others had seen zoomed photos that clearly showed it was a three.


I told him not to look to me for an explanation of that one.


* * * * * *


When a supposed “insider” insisted a month ago that Marshall “had” to give Tom Herrion another year as head mens basketball coach, I assumed he had no idea what he was talking about. Thankfully, it turns out he didn’t. Herrion is now history.


Like everywhere, the few remaining Herrion supporters flooded social media with lamentations that Herrion was not being rewarded for “promoting quality young men and working to improve their character.” Instead, they said, Herrion is being punished for developing a losing program at MU. Oh really? I am among those who didn’t know that a head college coach is hired to lose games. If they need to have their characters improved as future leading citizens, send them to Jimmy Swaggart Ministries in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Herrion simply had to go in order to get Herd basketball turned around in any manner. Athletic Director Mike Hamrick, for all his faults, was smart enough to figure that one out.


The “insider” had said Marshall could not afford Herrion’s buy-out. By the end of four years, they could not afford not to get rid of him.


The last real success at MU came under the late Rick Huckabay. What a coach and what a motivator. Nobody has equaled him since he left Huntington.


* * * * * *


Black wreaths are in order for University of Southern Pennsylvania at Morgantown fans who mourned their embarrassing loss to Texas in the Big 12 tournament. As I noted some time ago, there was no way WVU could work its way into the NCAA tournament by winning games in Morgantown. While they picked up a couple of big ones there (including Kansas, who chose not to show up), they looked atrocious on the road.


I continue to believe time has passed Bob Huggins by as a head college basketball coach. I’m not sure how WVU ever deals with a coach who they call “Huggs,” and look on while he embarrasses the university on and off the court. They may actually be “stuck” with him but I guarantee you Gale Catlett was better on his worst day than Huggins is most days.


* * * * * *


Huggins has been, in fact, an iconic college coach. He simply is not any more. Recruiting top-quality players to Morgantown is difficult at best. He and his staff cannot do it. It is time for him to go join Herrion in the unemployment line.


* * * * * *


I once told a Charleston Gazette sports writer that CRHS is NOT Chapmanville High while he was covering the CRHS Tigers in the state baseball tournament. “Well, here, we just call them Chapmanville,” he replied. Easy; simple; and WRONG.


* * * * * *


Does anyone think ANY sports writer will EVER say a championship by Lincoln County High is the first-ever title for HAMLIN High? I sure hate reminding my friends in Hamlin that their dearly-departed school is the only one of Lincoln County’s four old Class A highs that did NOT ever win a state title. But they did not.


So, LCHS is located in Hamlin. Why would the storyline not be just like the one from Chapmanville?


* * * * * *


Harts area residents who argued at the consolidation that the CRHS school mascot should not be a tiger and the colors should not be orange and black have been proven right. That should never have happened and perhaps this confusion would not have been continued.


* * * * * *


Any reader silly enough to suggest that I accused the CRHS boys athletes of “stealing” their win over Scott surely would fail any literacy test. I made it clear that NOBODY from Chapmanville participated in or engineered the phantom “win.” Give Oliverio and his co-referees all the credit for that one. Oliverio definitely deserves to be in the CRHS sports hall of fame.


* * * * * *


The boys state tournament is a great place to reunite with old friends and talk about days gone by. I can’t wait to see some of my oldest friends — and root (silently, of course) for a CRHS championship. After all, cheering or applauding a team is strictly prohibited for a journalist. I wonder why, cheerleading colleagues?


* * * * * *


Rumors, story ideas, game results and comments are welcome. Contact me via email or on my cell, 304-533-5185


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