Nationwide Classic will be big, Hatcher says
Paul Adkins Sports Editor
CHAPMANVILLE — If you are an avid high school basketball fan then you need to write this date down on your calendar.
Draw stars on it.
Just remember this date: December 14.
That’s when Chapmanville Regional High School will be hosting the inaugural Nationwide Classic at Chapmanville’s Danny Godby Gymnasium.
Four games are scheduled to be played in the daylong classic and many of the teams are local, including the Chapmanville boys and girls, the Logan High School boys and girls and the Scott High School boys’ basketball teams.
The Chapmanville girls are slated to play Pikeview at 4 p.m. in the first game of the day. Then at 5:30 p.m., the Logan girls, 17-10 and the Class AAA state runner-ups last year, are scheduled to play five-time defending Class A state champion Huntington St. Joe a marquee Game 2.
Then the Nationwide Classic turns to boys’ action as Coach Mark Hatcher’s Logan Wildcats play Scott at 7 p.m. The host Chapmanville boys’ squad, coached by second-year mentor Allan Hatcher, Mark Hatcher’s dad, then takes on Liberty-Raleigh in the 8:30 p.m. nightcap.
The Logan girls advanced all the way to the Class AAA state title game last year, falling 58-34 to Parkersburg South at the Charleston Civic Center. Logan’s Nationwide Classic opponent, Huntington St. Joe, went 25-1 last year, cruising to a 73-32 victory over St. Marys in the state finals. The Irish were 20-6 in 2012, 18-7 in 2011, 22-5 in 2010 and 22-5 in 2009.
Chapmanville’s girls were 13-12 last season, losing 31-28 to Scott in the 2A sectional tourney at Logan. The Lady Tigers face Pikeview, a 14-11 team from last year.
Logan’s boys struggled to an 8-17 record last year, falling 64-58 in overtime at Hurricane in the Class AAA regional title game. Scott’s boys were 15-11 last season and reached the 2A state tourney but lost 55-48 in the first round to Fairmont Senior. The Skyhawks were a 53-52 winner over the Poca Dots in the regional co-final.
Chapmanville’s boys were 14-10 in Allan Hatcher’s first season last year since being hired away from Perry Central (Ky.). The Tigers were eliminated 38-35 by Tolsia in the 2A sectional tourney at Logan. Chapmanville was a 56-25 winner over Wayne in the opening round.
The Tigers’ Nationwide Classic opponent, Liberty Raleigh, was only 3-20 last season.
Bringing in Liberty-Raleigh to Chapmanville would have also brought in 6-10, 300-pound center and WVU recruit Levi Cook. Cook, one of the nation’s best rated prep centers, however, bolted from Liberty Raleigh over the summer and transferred to Huntington Prep.
“We hope to make this an annual thing,” Allan Hatcher said of the Nationwide Classic. “We had Levi Cook that was going to come here. He was playing for Liberty Raleigh and had committed to West Virginia. We had it all set up but now he’s gone to Huntington Prep. We can’t control that. That would have been really huge to have him here because he has already committed to West Virginia. He’s since transferred but we’re still playing Liberty Raleigh.”
Hatcher said he’s looking for Chapmanville’s gym to be filled all day and night.
“Scott and Logan is going to be a big game. Scott went to the state tournament last year,” he said. “Huntington St. Joe is a great girls’ basketball team. They’ve won five straight state titles.”
St. Joe’s girls are led by 5-8 senior guard Mychal Johnson, one top players in the state and the country. Johnson has verbally committed to play college basketball at Notre Dame. He’s led St. Joe to three straight titles since her freshman year.
The versatile Johnson is ranked as the 18th best point guard in the nation by ESPN and the 80th-best overall player in the country.
Johnson competed in the Nike Nationals over the summer and won praise by scouts. Said one scout, “She’s an athletic floor-leader, handles and directs, half-court manager; combo-game manufactures and creates, finishes in traffic vs. contact; mentally tough, competitive game manager with resilience … appearing to have finesse game but continues to battle. She’s a winner.”
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