GW vs SC 1

George Washington’s Mason Pinkett drives for the rim last season between South Charleston defenders Shawn Forte (13) and Tre Gibson (11). Pinkett and Gibson, who now plays at Riverside, are both sidelined with injuries.

In truth, boys basketball sectional play in West Virginia began Friday and Saturday with scattered games around the state, all of them in Class AA and A.

Some of the big showdowns, however, arrive this week in Class AAA.

One of the biggest could be in AAA Region 3 Section 1 on Wednesday when George Washington (17-3) hosts South Charleston (13-8) — a matchup of teams that have spent most of the season ranked in the state’s top 10.

The No. 3-ranked Patriots own a pair of wins against the Black Eagles so far, coming by scores of 79-76 on Jan. 6 and 85-74 on Jan. 24.

“Hopefully, we’ll play our best game,’’ said SC coach Vic Herbert, “because we’re going to need to. They’ve got a lot of experience.’’

The top seed in Region 3 Section 1, Capital (13-7), hosts St. Albans (7-14) on Wednesday. Both of those sectional semifinals are scheduled for 7 p.m. tipoffs.

Capital has lost only two of its last 12 games, thought it had to forfeit a Feb. 14 victory against Huntington Prep Blue. The Cougars are riding high, recently capturing their fourth straight Mountain State Athletic Conference title; however, they are still looking for their first state championship in that stretch.

“We really just have to keep coming out and have great practices,’’ said senior forward Anthony Pittman, who leads the team with a 20.1 scoring average. “And have that carry over to our games. Play how we’re supposed to play.’’

The two semifinal winners will collide at 7 p.m. Friday on the home court of the higher seed in the sectional finals, a game in which both teams remain eligible for the regionals. The sectional final winner gets a regional home game, and the loser hits the road. That is the only level of the postseason where a loss doesn’t eliminate a team.

Other Class AAA sectional games involving Kanawha Valley teams are also set for Wednesday.

In Region 3 Section 2, Riverside (5-17) travels to Princeton (13-8) in one semifinal, while Woodrow Wilson (15-6) hosts Greenbrier East (3-17) in the other. Those winners also meet on Friday in the sectional finals.

Riverside and Princeton have not met this season, as the Tigers are still serving out the term of their four-year scheduling “death penalty’’ for leaving the MSAC in 2015 without the required notice, which prohibits them from playing league teams during the regular season. Princeton still has one more school year to serve on that penalty.

Hurricane (10-11) tries to get into the sectional finals — and qualify for the regionals — when it takes on Spring Valley (7-15) at 6 p.m. Wednesday during a Region 4 Section 2 doubleheader at Cabell Midland. The nightcap pits top seed Huntington (14-6) against Midland (8-14) at approximately 8.

The sectional finals in that grouping are also scheduled for Friday, again at Cabell Midland.

Two of the Kanawha Valley’s top Class AA teams earned first-round byes in Region 4 Section 1 and don’t take the court until Wednesday, with each earning the right to play at home.

Nitro (19-3), the top seed in the section, takes on Monday’s Wayne-Poca winner, and No. 2 seed Winfield (15-7) hosts the Sissonville-Point Pleasant winner.

Contact Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @RickRyanWV.