By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
As Fairmont Senior’s girls’ basketball coach, Corey Hines has built the Polar Bears into a winning, state-ranked program.
Now the third-year headman is hoping to build something else from the ground up.
Under the direction of Hines and with help from FSHS girls’ basketball boosters, the school will host the inaugural Fairmont Senior Holiday Classic this Friday and Saturday at the Woody Williams Armory.
What makes this event unique isn’t merely the site — the Polar Bear girls play their home games in the tiny “new gym” on the school’s campus, not the spacious, history-laden Armory — but the sheer number of teams in action.
While most holiday tournaments around the state boast somewhere from four to six teams, the Fairmont Senior Holiday Classic will feature 10 schools, including all three Marion County girls’ programs.
Things will tip off at noon Friday with Pocahontas County taking on Clay-Battelle. Games will continue throughout the rest of the day Friday, all at the Armory, and include: East Fairmont vs. John Marshall, 2:15 p.m.; Robert C. Byrd vs. Hedgesville, 4 p.m.; Frankfort vs. North Marion, 5:45 p.m.; and Braxton County vs. Fairmont Senior, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday’s slate of games includes: John Marshall vs. Hedgesville, noon; North Marion vs. Pocahontas County, 2:15 p.m.; Robert C. Byrd vs. Braxton County, 4 p.m.; Fairmont Senior vs. Frankfort, 5:45 p.m.; and Clay-Battelle vs. East Fairmont, 7:30 p.m.
The idea of starting a tournament this size has been a goal of Hines for quite some time, even before he took the reins of the Polar Bears from Ashley Reed in 2010.
“I’ve had this vision for a couple years,” he said.
It started when he saw the response and the good such an event can bring after attending local tournaments to raise money for gun violence awareness — something that’s taken the lives of both his family and friends.