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George Washington’s girls basketball team has made the state tournament for the first time since 2018 — but in an entirely different manner.

The Patriots were supposed to host Greenbrier East in a Class AAAA Region 3 co-final game on Thursday, but the Spartans pulled out of the game due to their ongoing COVID-19 situation, meaning GW advances unopposed into next week’s state tournament at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center.

Greenbrier East wasn’t able to play its sectional championship game against Woodrow Wilson last week after one of its freshman players tested positive for the virus. Gov. Jim Justice, who is also the girls basketball coach at East, confirmed that situation at his daily COVID press briefing last Friday, adding that he was “dumbfounded” that none of his players chose to be vaccinated when offered.

Since teams that lose in sectional title games aren’t eliminated from the postseason, the Spartans were still in the running to play in the regionals and get to the state tournament. However, Greg Reed, assistant executive director of the Secondary School Activities Commission, told the Gazette-Mail there were “more positive cases’’ in the Greenbrier East basketball community, prompting the decision to shut down the girls basketball program for the season.

GW athletic director Tim Flatley also confirmed that the Region 3 co-final game on Thursday would not be played. It had already been postponed 24 hours from its originally scheduled time of Wednesday evening.

As in football, no forfeits are being issued when teams aren’t able to compete in scheduled games due to COVID protocol. The opposing team simply advances uncontested.

The last time George Washington played in the girls state tournament three years ago was against Wheeling Park as a No. 5 seed.

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

Preps Sports Reporter