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Region One Basketball Challenge Set For Saturday

By Staff | Jan 28, 2010

The Magnolia Blue Eagles will host the first-ever New Martinsville Rotary Boys’ West Virginia Class AA Region One Roundball Challenge on Jan. 30 at the HammerDome starting at 2 p.m.

The basketball smorgasbord will feature all eight region one teams, including three that are ranked in the top five in Class AA – Magnolia, Weir and Ravenswood.

The whole concept of a regional event came about when the WVSSAC went to the larger regions, which combined the old Region I and Region I into a single region. At the same time, the SSAC had the coaches seed the teams in the region for home court advantage for the playoffs.

This was important because these changes created some problems.

One was how to seed teams that didn’t play each other, and it was going to be quite a trip for teams like Weir and Oak Glen from the north to play teams like Roane, Ritchie Ravenswood and Point Pleasant in the south.

The answer was simple: go half way and play in New Martinsville. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” said Project Chairman Jim Blatt. “I feel strongly that all the other regions will follow suit by putting on showcases like ours down the road. I am excited, Coach Tallman is excited and the New Martinsville Rotary is excited to be a major sponsor for the basketball challenge.”

Not only will local fans be able to watch four top notch high school basketball games in one spot, but the coaches will be able to scout all the other teams without having to travel.

The cost of admission is $7 for all the games. Admission for one game is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

The idea for the smorgasbord of high school basketball was a collective effort by Blatt, MHS Head Coach Dave Tallman and Ravenswood Coach Mick Price.

The opening match will tip off at 2 p.m. and will feature Ritchie County against Oak Glen, followed at 4 p.m. by #5 ranked Weir and Point Pleasant. Tyler Consolidated will pair against Roane at 6 p.m. and the #4 ranked Blue Eagles will try to avenge last year’s Regional loss to #3 ranked and defending state champion Ravenswood.

Oak Glen is 3-2 on the season, while Ritchie is 1-3. The Golden Bears have rare talent in Clay Owens who is fun to watch and is a good shooter.

In the Weir vs Point Pleasant game, the Riders are ranked fifth with a 6-1 record, while the Blacks are 3-1 and are ranked number 10. Weir has several big names, led by Shawn Burns and two top notch post players in L. J. Campbell and Anthony Cato.

Last year, these two teams faced each other to see who would move on to the state tournament. Point Pleasant Head Coach Rich Blain is the brother of former MHS soccer coach Jeremy Blain.

In the matchup with Tyler and Roane, the Knights just knocked off Berkeley Springs in their Roundball Tournament and has upset on their mind once more.

The last contest is Ravenswood versus the Blue Eagles. Last season, home-standing Ravenswood came from behind in the regional finals to beat Magnolia in the final ticks of the clock.

There will be a hospitality room for the press, players, coaches and referees. In addition to Rotary, other tourney sponsors helping include State Farm Insurance Agencies throughout the Region, Dana Liquid Transport and State Sen. Jeff Kessler.

Also many of the area businesses have teamed to give gifts. “Each team will get a bag with a shirt for the coach and one for the players,” said Blatt.” Also Tractor Supply Company will give out caps and the local banks will collaborate on a grab bag.

New Martinsville resident Grace Berisford will perform with the Marshall County Dribble Team – a group of girls in grades 3-6 that performs at halftime shows at WVU. She is the daughter of Randy and Linda Berisford.

Anyone wishing to help support the basketball smorgasbord with a contribution or assistance may call Blatt at 304-455-3348 or email blatt6@verizon.net