Herbert Hoover's Ashton King goes low to keep the ball in play against Ritchie County's Kenna Delancey (14), Janessa Adams (far right) and Leah Kuhn.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As a player at Herbert Hoover, Anita King had zero state finals appearances in two trips to the state tournament semifinals.Now in her third year and trip as a coach, King is finally there and she has the Huskies a win short of a Class AA championship.After beating Ritchie County in four sets in an afternoon quarterfinal, the Huskies survived Robert C. Byrd in the only five-set match of the day, winning in the semifinals 25-23, 25-27, 22-25, 25-21, 15-9 to earn a berth into the state championship match.Quarterfinal and semifinal matches in all three classes were held on Friday at the Charleston Civic Center, with all three championship matches coming today.The Class AA title match will follow the Class A match which follows the Class AAA match scheduled for 9:30 a.m.The Huskies faced some serious self-inflicted adversity in Friday's nightcap.Hoover held on to win the first set and had a commanding 24-20 lead in the second with a chance to take control of the match. But the Eagles fought back to win the second set, took the third, then had a 15-14 lead in the fourth.Somehow with its back to the wall, Hoover rallied for seven straight points and rode that momentum all the way to a victory."We have a little chant that we do and it's called 'no quit,'" King said. "I wanted it on the back of our T-shirts. It's a no-quit attitude, and when you pick up that attitude all of the sudden you don't know what you can do."King's daughter Ashton and niece Hannah are both members of the Huskies' squad, and Hannah King turned in as dominant a performance as any player in any match Friday right when Hoover needed it.Hannah King racked up 26 kills, 20 digs and 10 blocks, and her height and presence at the net had Byrd players adjusting shots all match, causing a few unforced errors that proved costly."It's just what I have to do," Hannah King said. "I know my team relies on me and I need my team behind me. They put it up and I'll get it down, I've been doing it for a while and I can't give up now."
The win avenged a straight-set loss to the Eagles early in the season.Hoover also lost to Oak Glen early in the season and that's who'll the Huskies will see again after the Golden Bears took care of Philip Barbour in four sets in the other AA semifinal Friday after beating Clay County in straight sets in the morning session.Both Anita and Hannah King believe their revenge tour can continue today.
"Our kids getting to be here this morning and watching Oak Glen play and then watching Philip Barbour and Oak Glen play each other, it has given our kids some confidence that they deserve to be on the same court," Anita King said. "They have the same ability that these other kids do, it's going to come down to heart and hustle and I believe these kids have got it.""We're going to play harder than we did tonight," Hannah King said. "We're going to put up more blocks, play better defense and hit a lot better. We're going to play hard and have faith." nn
There's a joke somewhere here about Musselman flexing its muscle, but there's just nothing funny about what it has done to opponents not only on Friday, but all year long.The Applemen haven't dropped a single match to in-state competition this year and they have clearly carried that momentum over to the state tournament.
After breezing through Capital in the first round, Musselman dusted off Parkersburg 25-11, 25-15, 25-18 in the Class AAA semifinals and are only one of two teams in the tournament to have not dropped a set.If the Applemen seem a bit businesslike, it could be the frustration of back-to-back runner-up finishes in the state tournament carrying over to this year.Musselman will make its sixth appearance in the title game in the last seven years, including championships in 2008 and 2010."I think they're on a mission," coach Shawn Martz said. "I'd be surprised if they didn't come out with the same kind of focus [today]. They're not happy with just winning this match."The Applemen will take on Greenbrier East, which took care of Spring Valley in four sets in the other semifinal. It will mark the first state championship appearance for the Spartans.The two teams did not play in the regular season. nn
The Class A title match will follow and will be decided between Wirt County and Tyler Consolidated.The Tigers are looking to reclaim their place atop the field after winning eight championships since 2000, with their most recent coming in 2011.Wirt was impressive Friday, knocking out Magnolia and Greater Beckley Christian, both in straight sets.The Knights marched through Charleston Catholic in straight sets before handling East Hardy in four. They will be looking for their first state championship since a Class AA title in 2007. Tyler finished as the Class A runner up last year.The teams met twice in the regular season with Tyler winning both times.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.