LOGAN, W.Va. – Chapmanville came ready to play in the Class AA, Region 4, Section 2 championship game and Mingo Central appeared to have left their game at home.
The Tigers won their second sectional title in a row and third in four years as they clawed the Miners 62-37 before more than 4,200 fans packed into Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena on Friday night. The sellout crowd brought back memories of the old Logan-Williamson games.
The two teams had split their regular season matchups, Mingo Central winning at Danny Godby Gym in Chapmanville in double overtime, but the Tigers returned the favor, beating the Miners in double OT up on Miner Mountain. Most fans thought this game was going to be another barn-burner. But it didn’t turn out that way.
“We got our rear-ends handed to us,” said a blunt Miners’ Coach Kevin Hatfield. “I haven’t had a butt kickin’ like that in a long time. I’m disappointed, but we told these guys there were really no excuses. People are going to say it was the refs — and yes, Jeremy (Dillon) had the flu – but trust me – we just got beat. It bothered me that we turned the ball over against the 2-2-1 press. But these guys have to listen and do what they are told. Chapmanville came out and did a good job and wanted to win. Our effort was bad.”
Obviously Chapmanville Regional head coach Brad Napier was proud of his team’s performance.
“We’ve not played real good the last five or six games this season,” Napier said. “Tonight I think we probably played our best game of the season. We were hitting on all cylinders. To beat a team like Mingo Central by that margin is an outstanding feat. I thought our defense was really the key. I’m just really proud of our kids.”
Chapmanville junior all-state guard Drew Williamson had a game-high 19 points. He started the game off with a long 3-pointer, but in the third quarter, he hit four treys from different spots on the court.
“I don’t know how, but I was getting some wide open looks,” Williamson said. “The first half was a little rough, but my teammates had confidence in me and kept getting me the ball. Our game plan was to keep defensive help on Jeremy and to control Drew’s outside shooting because he can knock them down – and Keshean too. We executed it great.”
Napier is the former head coach for the Miners. He led MCHS to the state tournament a few years ago.
“I think Mingo has a great team and I love those kids, especially the ones I coached,” Napier said. “I think you will still see both of us in the state tournament.”
The Tigers took an early 6-2 lead, but came out with full-court pressure and forced some early turnovers. Those turned into some easy baskets.
“That’s pretty much what we try to do each game,” Napier said. “We shot the well too, which helped us get into our press.”
The Miners tied the game at 6-6 on shots by Canaan Fletcher and Dillon. But then Chapmanville went on an 8-0 run to go up 14-6. Hatfield called a timeout in an effort to stop the Tiger’s momentum. The Miners got another basket from Fletcher but then Dylan Smith came up with a steal and converted the layup to give his team an 18-8 lead after one quarter.
Drew Hatfield fired in a 3-pointer for Mingo to cut it to 18-11 and Fletcher hit another baseline jumper, but Chapmanville’s inside game with big 6-foot-7 Hunter Neil and back-to-back shots by Smith game the Tigers a commanding 29-16 lead.
Keshean Rhodes nailed a 3-pointer for the Miners, but then Neil had another putback to give CRHS at 31-19 lead. Then Rhodes swished another trey for MCHS, but a confident Chapmanville squad went into the dressing room at the half with a 33-22 lead.
Smith led the balanced Tigers with 10 points in the first half , Kyle Browning had seven, while Williamson and Neil six each. Fletcher led Mingo with eight in the first half, while Rhodes had seven.
But the wheels came off in the third quarter for Mingo Central. They had more turnovers and Chapmanville’s Williamson swished in four 3-pointers. A dunk by Neil ignited the Tigers’ fans as his team went on an early 8-0 run.
Williamson’s fourth trey gave his team a 54-28 lead.
Drew Hatfield picked up his fifth foul near the end of the third quarter and a technical was whistled against Mingo Central. Then Obinna Killen had an slam dunk and the Tigers went up 60-33. After that many of the fans headed for the doors.
At that point the game was over and there was no comeback to be had.
Both coaches cleared their benches in the final quarter as the minutes ticked away and Chapmanville took home the sectional championship trophy.
“But we still have a shot and that is what we told them,” Hatfield said in the Mingo dressing room after the game. With the new co-regional tourney format, the loser of the sectional still gets a shot to advance to the regional, but it will be on the road. Mingo Central will be playing at either Winfield or Poca. That game was scheduled for Saturday night.
“We can’t let one bad game screw up a good year,” Hatfield said. “We are going to give them tomorrow off and come back and practice Monday and Tuesday and get ready to play, whether it’s Winfield or Poca.”
The Miners split with Poca during the regular season, but lost at Winfield in the only game those two conference foes played.
“These people who don’t want us to run offense, well, there you go. We ran offense eight times the whole game. They say we are playing ‘Burch ball’ and all of that crap, but that is what happens when you don’t run offense and you shoot threes all night,” a disappointed Hatfield said. “We got our rear ends handed to us tonight because we didn’t run any offense. But, if you told me at the first of the year that we would have a one game shot at making it to the state tournament, I would take it. We will just have to come out and play like we are capable of doing.”
Mingo Central only shot 30 percent for the game making 13-of-42 shots and they ended up with 15 turnovers. The Miners were 8-for-10 at the free throw line.
Chapmanville (20-4) shot better than 50 percent from the floor and they were 6-for-9 at the foul line.
Williamson led four Tigers in double figures with 18, Smith scored 13, Neil and Browning 12 each and Killen finished with seven, including a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks. Killen also had five blocked shots.
Dillon, who has been battling the flu bug, led Mingo Central with 12 points, while Rhodes scored 10 and Fletcher finished with eight. Hatfield was held to five and Banks failed to score.
The Tigers will host a co-regional game Wednesday at Danny Godby Gymnasium at 7 p.m. They will play the loser of the Poca-Winfield game, which was slated for Saturday night. The Miners (18-7) will play the same night, but on the road against the sectional champion of Region 4, Section 1.