CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — Going to Florida in late December and escaping the onset of West Virginia’s cold winter is never a bad thing.
The Chapmanville Regional High School basketball team will be able to enjoy the Sunshine State in late December as the Tigers are scheduled to take part in the Daytona Beach Classic, Dec. 27-29 at Daytona Beach, Fla.
For the Chapmanville basketball team it’s the highlight of the 2016-17 season and the first of a kind for the Tigers’ hoop program, which to Coach Brad Napier’s knowledge, has never traveled to play so far.
Napier, the former coach at Mingo Central, took the Miners one year to a Christmas tournament in Orlando, Fla., and was a part of ex-Logan coach Mark Hatcher’s staff, when the Wildcats played three times in holiday tournaments in South Carolina.
But this is a first for Chapmanville and the basketball team is excited about having the opportunity to play in Florida.
“This is the first time to my knowledge that Chapmanville will play in a tournament like that out of state and that far away,” said second-year coach Napier. “We did it at Mingo Central when I was there and went to the Disney tournament in Orlando and we did it at Logan when I was there as an assistant when we went to Columbia and Spartanburg, South Carolina. We enjoyed it. We get caught up with wins and losses but it’s also about the experience that these kids have in high school. This is something that they will remember the rest of their lives.”
Napier took his team to Old Dominion University in Virginia during the off-season this summer.
“We went there and got to spend a few days at the beach,” Napier said. “We like to travel and we like to give the kids experiences that they will remember forever.”
Napier said the Daytona Beach schedule has not yet been released but he’s sure the Tigers will be facing tough competition.
“We don’t have a schedule yet but there’s teams going to be there from Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina,” Napier said.
The tournament will also give his program and his players some added exposure to a different out-of-state audience.
“It will give us a chance to see how we stack up against other kids from other states,” Napier said. “There will be some college coaches from Florida there I’m sure. We’ve had some colleges come in and look at our kids and they are really excited about that.”
The Tigers had an outstanding season a year ago, as Napier led the Tigers to a 17-9 campaign and the school’s second trip to the state tournament which resulted in a 30-28 nail-biting loss to the defending state champion Poca Dots at the Charleston Civic Center.
Chapmanville beat Scott 38-36 for the sectional title and defeated Sissonville 57-55 at home to claim the regional co-championship.
The Tigers will face a beefed-up schedule with the addition of new Cardinal Conference members Logan, Winfield and Nitro.
Also new to the schedule is a game on Dec. 10 in the season opener at home against a very tough Mountain Mission (Va.) team.
The Tigers play Dec. 16 Fairmont Senior in the Big Ten/Cardinal Conference Challenge at Robert C. Byrd High School.
Chapmanville’s only other non-conference games are a home-and-home series with county and new sectional rival Man.
“Our schedule is brutal especially early in the year,” Napier said. “We open up against Mountain Mission, then we go on the road at Winfield, which is one of the toughest places to play in the state. Then we have Fairmont Senior, who may be the best team in the state in any class. They have four starters back and they have unbelievable talent.”
To help fund the trip to Florida, Napier said his team has already held a couple of fundraisers.
“We’ve also been saving some money here and there,” he said. “It’s a struggle to raise money but we’ve been working on it for about six months.”
2016-17 Chapmanville Regional
High School Basketball Schedule
Dec. 10: Mountain Mission, Va., 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13: at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 16: at Fairmont Senior, 8 p.m.
Dec. 22: Pikeview (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), 9 p.m.
Dec. 23: vs. TBA (Bob Runyon Memorial Holiday Tournament), TBA
Dec. 27-29: at Daytona Beach Classic, Daytona Beach, Fla, TBA
Jan. 6: at Wayne, 7 p.m.
Jan. 10: at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 13: at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17: Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20: at Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 24: Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27: at Man, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 3: Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4: Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: Man, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10: Logan, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 14: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17: Wayne, 7:30 p.m.