CHAPMANVILLE — If you could fast-forward 30 years into the future to the year 2044 they will probably still be talking about it.
In Chapmanville Tigers’ basketball lore, it will most likely simply go down as “The Shot.”
In the NFL, there is “The Catch,” when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana threw a late touchdown to a leaping Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to beat the Dallas Cowboys to make it to 1982 Super Bowl.
Back in 1951, the New York Giants had Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard Round the World” with his home run at the old New York Polo Grounds to lift the Giants to the National League Pennant in a victory over the crosstown Brooklyn Dodgers.
Locally, here in Chapmanville and Logan County, there is “The Shot.”
Josh Butcher’s shot.
It’s something that won’t be forgotten.
It was, easily, the greatest moment ever in the history of Chapmanville Tigers basketball.
Butcher’s 3-point shot with two seconds left in Thursday night’s Class AA regional co-championship game at Chapmanville’s Danny Godby Gymnasium, put the Chapmanville Regional High School boys’ basketball team into the state tournament for the first time ever.
The shot broke a tie and gave the Tigers a 44-41 win over Nicholas County before a standing rooom only crowd of 1,550 at CRHS.
As Butcher sank the 3-pointer, with Nicholas County’s Justin Browning in his face, coincidentally, a deafening roar swept across the gym.
The Grizzlies inbounded the ball and the horn sounded.
It was over.
Chapmanville fans swarmed the court and mobbed the players.
History was made.
It was a long time coming too.
Chapmanville Regional High School dates back to 2007 and the Tigers last made it this far four years ago when CRHS lost to Sissonville in the regional championship game. It was the latest time Chapmanville had fallen just one game short of making it to the state tournament.
Before the new school was built, however, the old Chapmanville High School boys’ basketball team made it to the regional tournament many times in the past, only to bite the dust.
In fact, since 1999, the Chapmanville Tigers had lost eight times in regional championship games, leaving them one game short of Charleston.
Those demons were put to rest with Butcher’s 3 and the Tigers’ win.
They did it.
For the first time ever, the Chapmanville Tigers will be playing in the state tournament. Tiger basketball dates back to 1930, according to local historians, and never had the Orange and Black ever played in the state tournament.
Chapmanville will get its chance on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. as the sixth-seeded Tigers (20-5) are set to play No. 3 seed and defending Class AA state champion Bluefield (22-2) at the Charleston Civic Center.
More on that game later.
But for now, it’s been a great weekend to be a Chapmanville Tiger.
The dream is no longer a dream.
It is reality.
Chapmanville’s second-year coach Allan Hatcher was brought to TigerTown last year to get CRHS to the state tournament.
“This is good for our community and good for our school,” Hatcher said. “Hey, we’re ready to go to Charleston. It was a quest and it was a goal to make it to the state tournament.”
Hatcher said Butcher has been Chapmanville’s go-to man all season. Butcher, a 6-foot junior guard who transfered this season from Riverside High School, is Chapmanville’s top shooter and leading scorer. He led the Cardinal Conference most of the season in scoring at about 17 points a game.
“They really guarded him well,” Hatcher said. “Josh has no fear about shooting the ball at the end of the game. He’s got that ability to step up and make the big shots and the big plays. He did it again.”
Nicholas County had tied the game at 41 with 19 seconds left after Cody McClung nailed a 3-pointer.
Chapmanville then called time out and set up a play for Butcher.
Butcher got the ball and dribbled across the court. With Justin Browning’s hand in his face, Butcher jumped and released a 3-pointer about halfway between the top of the key and the corner to the non-scorers table side of the court.
It was sweet string music as it hit nothing but net.
“In the huddle we were debating on what kind of play that we were going to run,” Butcher said. “We decided to run a dribble ball instead of me running off the screen. I came off of it and I saw daylight. I made sure I shot the ball and I buried it.”
Chapmanville senior Brady Cox said Butcher has been the Tigers’ bread-and-butter all season long. Butcher finished the game with 14 points. Cox had six points.
“Josh has made shots for us all year,” Cox said. “I knew that it was going to be a tough game. Everyone brings their best. Josh Butcher stepped up and made a big shot and we won the game.”
Senior forward Kenny Plumley, who led the Tigers with 17 points in the game, said it was a good feeling to see Butcher’s shot go through for the game-winner.
“We were going to take the best shot that was given to us,” Plumley said. “He got a good look at the basket, had a good shot and he put it down. We put everything in his hands to make a shot like that. We put our trust in each other with this team. It’s a great feeling to make it.”
Plumley said Chapmanville’s fans were fantastic and created a hostile environment for the Grizzlies, which finished with a 14-11 season.
“The crowd was crazy,” Plumley said. “This is the best crowd that we’ve ever had. This is the most people that we’ve ever had at a game.”
Senior Jon Williamson said he was worried as Nicholas County battled back to tie it.
“For a minute I thought that they were going to come right from behind and get us,” Williamson said. “But there was something in my heart that said that we had it.”
Junior guard Trey Dalton, who finished with two points, said when the team left the huddle they felt confident Butcher would come through.
“They were staying right with him all night but when he shot it I knew that it was going to go right in,” Dalton said. “It hit nothing but net.”
Joe Tackett, who had two points in the game — a key two points which put Chapmanville on top 41-38 with 22 seconds left before McClung’s game-tying 3, said Butcher is who makes the Tigers go.
“Josh is our guy,” Tackett said. “He’s come up for us lately. We just have to do it now at the Civic Center.”
Chapmanville now makes five schools in which Coach Hatcher has taken to the state tournament in either West Virginia or Kentucky. Years ago, he led Williamson High School’s Wolfpack to the state championship.
Hatcher said Nicholas County was no pushover.
He said that all week.
He was right.
It took a game-winning shot to do it.
“It feels great and I’m very happy for Chapmanville Regional High School and the community,” Hatcher said. “I knew, just knew, that it was going to be a tough game. They have good size and they have two really good players who can score. We just couldn’t get away from them. They just wouldn’t go away.”
Zac Casto added three points for Chapmanville.
Top scorer Jared Tharp had 14 for Nicholas County. Jacob Hopkins and Browning tossed in four each. Zach McCourt, a 6-7 reserve, had three points. Jacob Grose had two.
The Grizzlies jumped on top of Chapmanville 8-2 early.
The Tigers then went on a 9-1 run to grab an 11-9 lead after one. Plumley’s 15-footer with 32 seconds left supplied the lead.
In the second, CRHS pushed the lead to 18-12 with Dalton’s bucket inside.
Chapmanville expanded the lead to 21-12 with a Plumley free throw and two more by Butcher.
The Tigers, though, left the door open to the Grizzlies as McClung hit a 3 at the buzzer to close the gap to 23-17 at the half.
Nicholas County then scored first in the third quarter on a Browning bucket and it was 23-19.
At this point, Hatcher said it was a dogfight.
“We made a big mistake there at the end of the first half,” Hatcher said. “We were up nine and we shot the ball too early and McClung hit a 3 to cut it to six. Then they got the ball back first in the second half and scored to cut it to four. There we were in a dogfight. We had a chance in the first half to get away from them. It was close in the second half and it was close the rest of the game.”
Chapmanville would lead 33-26 after three. Butcher scored on a late coast-to-coast layup and Plumley netted two more free throws.
“I thought Plumley played pretty well, too,” Hatcher said. “He had 17 points and eight big rebounds.”
It the fourth quarter it was close all the way.
Chapmanville led by as many as five points but Nicholas closed it to 37-35 with 2:40 left after a Tharp 3-pointer.
Butcher nailed a 15-foot jumper with 1:15 to go and it was 39-36 Chapmanville.
The Grizzlies then came back with two makes from the foul line by McClung with 59.2 ticks remaining to make it 39-38.
Chapmanville got the ball back but turned it over to Browning with 50 seconds left. The Grizzlies had a chance to go ahead but Tharp missed a shot with 35 ticks to.
The Tigers grabbed the rebound and later fed to an open Tackett who scored in the lane with 22 seconds left to put CRHS on top 41-38.
Then it was time for the late game heroics as NC’s McClung tied it with a 3 and Butcher won it with a 3.
For the Tigers, it’s back to work.
Other than top seed Robert C. Byrd or No. 2 Poca, Chapmanville couldn’t have asked for any tougher opponent than the Bluefield Beavers.
“We’re going to enjoy this one but then we’re going to go back to work,” Hatcher said. “I’m really thrilled for this school and this community and for people like Coach (Ted) Ellis, Coach (Harry) Kirk, Coach (Danny) Godby and Coach (David) Elkins. They have all been supportive to me. All four of those guys have been supportive and me and the basketball team and they have went on the road to watch us. It’s not like that everywhere. That’s what makes this so special. This one is for them, too. It’s hard to make it over the hump but we did it.”
High School Tigers
2013-14 Boys’ Basketball Schedule (20-5):
Dec. 14: Liberty-Raleigh (Nationwide Classic), W 65-52
Dec. 17: at Herbert Hoover, W 59-40
Dec. 21: vs. North Marion (Hoops Classic, Charleston Civic Center), W 72-43
Dec. 23: Lincoln County, W 68-36
Dec. 27: Mount View (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), W 62-33
Dec. 28: Riverside (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), L 69-72 (OT)
Jan. 3: Scott, W 57-55
Jan. 14: Man, W 58-47
Jan. 15: at Mingo Central, W 53-27
Jan. 18: Sissonville, W 69-54
Jan. 24: Wayne, L 59-62 (OT)
Jan. 28: Herbert Hoover, W 47-34
Jan. 31: Tolsia, W 67-40
Feb. 1: Poca, L 43-53
Feb. 5: Mingo Central, W 54-45
Feb. 7: at Scott, L 67-73
Feb. 11: at Poca, L 35-68
Feb. 17: at Lincoln County, W 79-38
Feb. 21: at Wayne, W 68-42
Feb. 22: at Sissonville, W 61-39
Feb. 25: at Man, W 90-58
Feb. 26: at Tolsia, W 80-41
March 5: vs. Mingo Central (2A sectionals at Logan), W 48-44
March 7: vs. Scott (2A sectional finals at Logan), W 54-43
March 13: Nicholas County (2A regional co-final), W 44-41
March 19: Bluefield (2A state tourney), 9:30 a.m.