The Times West Virginian

Sports

March 13, 2014

County teams looking to go dancing

FAIRMONT — Two county teams are looking to punch their tickets to the Class AA boys’ state basketball tournament in Charleston when they take the court today.

Fairmont Senior will host Ravenswood at 7 p.m. at the Woody Williams Armory. East Fairmont travels to Roane for an elimination game at the same time.

The Polar Bears (14-9) have won four straight games, including a sectional championship win over East Fairmont, to secure home-court advantage. By winning a fifth straight game they will make a trip to the state tournament for the third consecutive year.

But to do so, they will have to get past Ravenswood (14-10). While the Red Devils have lost five of their last seven, including a 60-38 loss in their sectional title game, they will challenge the Fairmont Senior (14-9) shooters with a 2-3 and a 1-3-1 zone defense.

The key to attacking the zone is to get the ball inside to the post players who can then kick it out to guards. The Polar Bears will also look to drive and dish to create open looks, Fairmont Senior coach David Retton said.

“The better movement we get, the better shots we’re going to get,” Retton said. “That’s really been a big factor for us as the season has progressed.”

The two teams squared off in a scrimmage earlier this season, but Retton added that both teams have improved since then.

It also goes without saying that a scrimmage isn’t any way to predict the outcome of an all-or-nothing elimination game.

“The team that outplays the other team is going to be moving on,” Retton said. “What your records are, how many times you’ve been to states, that’s not going to mean anything. When that ball’s thrown up in the air, both teams have an equal shot of going to the state tournament.”

While Fairmont Senior looks for three in a row, East Fairmont hopes that the third time is the charm.

East Fairmont (10-13) last made it to the state tournament in 2001. The Bees have been within a game of the state tournament twice since but lost to John Marshall and Wheeling Park.

“We haven’t been able to get over the hump,” said East Fairmont coach Tyrone Asterino. “It’s going to be something we’re all going to be doing together. We’re going to try to get East Fairmont back there and see if we can be one of the best eight teams and go to Charleston.”

To get the ‘W’ in the big game, the Bees will count on their big men. In the loss to Fairmont Senior, post players Nick Greely, Myles Johnson and Colton Toothman scored 41 of the Bees’s 51 points.

They are looking for a similar performance in this game.

“We’re hoping we can use our size to our advantage,” Asterino said. “Our guard play has knocked down shots. But we try to make a concerted effort to get the ball inside.”

But more than anything else, Asterino said, “I just want them to have fun and enjoy the moment and understand that they’re defining their legacy a little bit. They’re defining who they are as a team. We want to bring that back to East Fairmont and to our school and our community. That means a lot to us.”

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