CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — Out with the old and in with the new.
With the WVSSAC’s newly minted realignment comes a new Class AA southern West Virginia basketball sectional this coming season.
County rivals Chapmanville, Man and Logan will join Mingo Central, Scott and Lincoln County in a new six-team basketball sectional this season.
Man moves up to Class AA from Single-A and Logan and Lincoln County move down to 2A from Triple-A.
And with it there will be a new format as well.
With six teams and sectional officials and coaches not wanting a squad to be able to play on their home floors, an idea was formed.
The biggest gyms at Logan, Chapmanville and Mingo Central will be hosting games between neutral teams.
For instance, if Chapmanville and Scott are matched up to play in the sectionals the game could be played at Logan or Mingo Central.
If Man and Lincoln County are set to square off it would be played at Chapmanville, Logan or Mingo Central.
If Mingo Central and Scott are to play it would be played at either Logan or Chapmanville.
The top two seeds will get a first-round bye. The No. 4 and No. 5 teams and the No. 3 and No. 6 squads will meet in the play-in games.
The No. 1 seed team will then meet the 4/5 winner and the No. 2 seed will play the 3/6 winner in the semifinals, both at neutral sites.
The winners of the two semifinal games would then meet in the sectional championship game, also at a neutral gym.
“We had our sectional meeting on Wednesday and we came up with a plan to have it at different places depending on who plays. We have it worked out that nobody will get a home game,” Chapmanville coach Brad Napier said. “It will work out. The sites will be Chapmanville, Logan and Mingo Central, the three biggest gyms. It was the fairest way to do it.”
Chapmanville was 17-9 last year and lost to Poca 30-28 in the state tournament.
Four starters will be back for the Tigers, including: 6-foot-3 junior guard Drew Williamson (19.6 ppg.); 5-10 junior guard Dylan Smith (10.3); 5-9 junior guard Kyle Browning (9.1); and 6-7 senior center Hunter Neil (9.8).
Top reserve Tyler Moore, a 6-5 senior forward, who came off the bench for part of the season and averaged 8.1 points per contest, will also be back, as well as Devin Collins (5-10 sophomore guard) and James Ellis (6-2 junior forward) who also saw some varsity time this year.
Logan was 10-14 last year and will be led by first-year head coach Zach Green. The Wildcats will look to turn it around after suffering three losing seasons in the last four years.
Man (15-9) and Lincoln County (16-7) each had winning seasons last year and Scott (11-14) and Mingo Central (2-20) will be looking for improvement.
“We think that it’s going to be one of the toughest sections in the state,” Napier said. “Mingo Central will be reloading with talent. Logan is going to be very very good coming down to Double-A, Scott is going to be good as well and Lincoln County thinks that they have one of the better teams that they have had. They have a lot of kids who have played a lot of basketball. It’s going to be a challenge. The teams that come out of our section will be battle-tested pretty much and will have a chance at winning the whole thing.”
Practices begin for the Tigers in mid-November.
“We’re excited to get started and the kids are excited,” Napier said. “We have a lot of buzz going on. I hope that we can be competitive early in the season because it’s going to be a challenge.”
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).