By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
North Marion’s boys’ basketball team is back in the state tournament.
And after nine years out of the West Virginia hoops spotlight, it was all worth the wait on Friday night.
North let a double-digit lead slip away in regulation, but did just enough in the end to post an exhausting — and wholly exhilarating — 81-78 double-overtime victory over host Webster County in the Region I co-final.
For the Huskies, it’s their first trip to Charleston since 2004.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” North Marion coach Chris Freeman said. “You always remember the first time you go to Charleston. I thought this team had a chance to get there this year and we have that opportunity. Now we’ve got to do something with it.”
For that to happen, North — which got clutch 3-pointers to end the third and fourth periods in a hostile Webster gym — will need some more magic come the start of the Class AA state tournament next week.
The reason? The Huskies, seeded eighth, play No. 1 Bluefield on Thursday at a time not yet determined at press time. Fairmont Senior, meanwhile, nabbed the second seed and will take on Scott in next week’s opening round.
Then again, it might not be much of an issue considering what the Huskies had to deal with Friday when they weren’t playing hoops.
If a standing-room-only crowd that left fans with little breathing room and Huskies’ cheerleaders little space to root on their team wasn’t enough, the visitors also had to deal their share of glitches in the gym.