CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the third time this season, South Charleston and Woodrow Wilson will square off. But tonight's game carries a bit more importance, as it comes in the Class AAA state tournament semifinals.The Black Eagles and Flying Eagles have exchanged wins on each other's home floor, but their 9 p.m. matchup today decides a spot in Saturday's title game."It's like looking at us,'' said SC coach Vic Herbert. "Our guys and their guys know each other so well and play against each other a lot in the offseason."It's not like playing Morgantown, where some of our guys know some of their guys. We play [Woodrow] a couple times every year and we know them and what's going on. They're very, very good and shoot the ball good, they defend like we defend. Their transition game's out of sight. They don't really have a lot of mental breakdowns or errors."Down there, defense won it for us. We had a run at the beginning of the third quarter and kept the cushion for most of the rest of the game. The second time, they got on a roll. I was playing zone and I told these guys that's my fault, we should have gone man from the beginning and I won't make that mistake again. Whoever's hot, whoever's night it is will win that game.''Tips from his official dadAnthony Eades gets the best of both worlds when it comes to basketball.The Bluefield standout, who along with his team advanced to the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday night, is the son of Mike Eades, a respected college basketball official.Mike Eades generally works games in the ACC, Big Ten and Big East, and currently is handling games in the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C.Thus, his son gets to learn about the game of basketball from both the inside and the outside."A lot has come from him,'' Anthony Eades said after Thursday's win against North Marion. "He's taught me everything I know. Since I was little, he's taught me how to play, taught me how to shoot - everything about the game of basketball, he's taught me.''Mike Eades, obviously, is on the road working a lot this time of year, taking care of his own March Madness, but occasionally gets to see his son play, like on Thursday at the Civic Center."He was actually here tonight,'' Anthony Eades said. "He's reffing the ACC tournament, but he flew up on a private jet and got to watch us play.''Anthony Eades said his father's knowledge of the game, even from a rules and implementation standpoint, translates into helpful information for him.
"A lot of it does,'' Anthony said. "He knows a lot about the game and the rules of the game. It's a big help from him teaching me how to play.''
You again?Fairmont Senior's prize for winning its Class AA quarterfinal was a rematch with Bridgeport.The No. 2 Polar Bears overcame cold shooting to finally put away pesky No. 7 Scott 55-48. In the first game of the morning Thursday, the No. 6 Indians pulled a 79-71 upset of No. 3 Westside to set up a semifinal showdown between Fairmont and Bridgeport at 11:15 a.m. today.Fairmont Senior and Bridgeport have already played twice this season, with the Polar Bears earning a 61-54 win in overtime and a much easier 76-50 victory."I think it comes down to who can execute better,'' said Fairmont Senior coach David Retton. "There are no secrets between the teams. I don't think we're going to do anything between now and today that's going to be any different."We talked about how we felt about playing North Marion [in the section championship game], they beat us twice. There was a lot for us to come out and win. Now it's on the other foot. Surely they will have their intensity ready for the ballgame and we certainly need to match or surpass their intensity.''
Soaring SkyhawksAfter the sting of its opening-round loss to Fairmont Senior wears off, Scott can look forward to next year.The Skyhawks lose only one, senior, guard Matt Dolan, the team's top scorer at 17.0 points per game. Six-foot-2 sophomore small forward Eric May (10.7) was Scott's only other double-figure scorer this year."Matt was definitely a big reason why we're here,'' said Scott coach Nick Cabell. "I told him that in the locker room. I don't think we could have made it without his leadership. It's going to be very, very hard to replace him. He's a leader on the floor, he's a leader off the floor. Emotionally, he brings it. He speaks up when he needs to."We started three sophomores, the point guard's a junior [Cody Brown], but we have six or seven juniors on the roster that can all play and they all got to play [Thursday]. Next year might just be a little bit different style just with the experience we'll have. They got a taste of what it's like to play here. We'll be hungry to get back next year for sure. We've got to get in the weight room, though, and strengthen these sophomores up.''Scott has never won a state title and only played in one championship, a 57-48 loss to Oak Hill in 2011.No. 8 seeds getting closerAnother year at the boys state basketball tournament and another year in which No. 8 seeds came up empty.But upon a closer look, the underdogs seem to be closing the gap and perhaps put up their best fight since seeding in the three classes began in 2005.Class AAA No. 1 Martinsburg, Class AA No. 1 Bluefield, and Class A No. 1 Tug Valley beat Huntington, North Marion, and Notre Dame, respectively, by a combined 46 points, the second-lowest combined total since 2005, missing the lowest mark by just one point (2010).Also, each No. 8 seed got off to a strong start as Huntington, North Marion and Notre Dame each led after one quarter.Huntington and North Marion in particular held their own as Huntington's 60-50 loss to Martinsburg was the second-closest Class AAA 8- vs.-1 matchup behind Logan's 65-57 win over Hedgesville in 2010.The Huskies' 62-51 loss to Bluefield, meanwhile, was by far the closest 8-vs.-1 game in Class AA since 2005, breaking the mark set in 2011 in a 17-point win by Oak Hill over Philip Barbour.The Highlanders and Huskies were also able to stay within striking distance until the final moments."We had our opportunities," North Marion coach Chris Freeman said Thursday. "We're the 8 seed playing the 1 seed and being down seven, eight or nine going into the fourth, you still feel like you've got an opportunity to win the ballgame."Color day at the Civic CenterWhen a team's colors are black and white, its fans have to go out their way to get noticed in an arena as large as the Civic Center.Westside's fans stuck out like sore thumbs during the Renegades' Class AA quarterfinal matchup with Bridgeport.Almost everyone in Westside's cheering section wore fluorescent orange, pink or chartreuse T-shirts. They might not have matched Hurricane's tie-dyed legion in number, but for pure chromatic effect they did just fine.No HugsWVU coach Bob Huggins was supposed to attend the Morgantown-SC game to watch the Mohigans' Nathan Adrian, but assistant coach Ron Everhart was there instead.