Hometown Tournament Set
WVHIT to allow small public schools the opportunity to compete for state basketball championship
After more than a year of planning, a new varsity boys’ state basketball championship title will be on the line this Feb. 12 with the launch of the first West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament (WVHIT).
Born from an idea that had been circulating among many of West Virginia’s small public school systems for several years, the WVHIT was organized by 16 high schools across the state who came together to offer athletes from small communities the chance to experience championship tournament play at a statewide level.
The WVHIT will not replace or compete with the traditional state varsity boys’ tournament hosted by the WVSSAC. Rather, its design is comparable to the relationship that exists between the NIT and NCAA college tournaments.
“We are very appreciative for the support we’ve received from principals, athletic directors and coaches across our great state for this tournament,” stated WVHIT President Tom Wamsley. “The tournament will follow all rules of the WVSSAC and each team involved has created a four-game window in their regular season so that they may participate. We anticipate and look forward to a very exciting level of play.”
Preliminary competition begins in regional venues on Feb. 1, with the event culminating at the Summersville, W. Va., Arena and Conference Center, beginning at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12, where a full day of final consolation and championship play is slated.
The inaugural tournament will host teams from all areas of the state. Participating in north division play will be the following high schools: Clay-Battelle, East Hardy, Harman, Hundred, Paden City, Tygarts Valley, Union and Valley Wetzel.
South region participants include high schools in Buffalo, Fayetteville, Hannan High School, Meadow Bridge, Midland Trail, Montcalm, Valley Fayette High School and Van High School.
Making the first WVHIT possible is its corporate sponsor, Southern WV Health System. “It gives us great satisfaction to be involved with an event that creates a competitive and healthy environment for all those participating and one that highlights the great achievements of West Virginia’s small rural communities,” said Southern West Virginia Health System CEO Brian Crist. “By giving student athletes from those communities the opportunity to complete at the state level, we hope to deliver an experience that will leave a positive impression that lasts a lifetime.”
Tickets for the full day of the WVHIT championship game day play will be on sale at the Summersville Arena on Feb. 12 at a cost of $5 each. For more information about WVHIT game schedules, contact the boys’ basketball coach at any participating high school.