By Nick Cammuso
Times West Virginian
North Marion knows the opportunity at hand. After all, Husky boys’ basketball has been pining for this very moment since Chris Freeman was hired as head coach six years ago.
Now, with a blast of winter weather about to hit the area, they might have to wait another day. But whether the team’s 7 p.m. Region I co-final at Webster County is played tonight or Thursday, North is ready for its shot at a Class AA state tournament berth.
And the Huskies aren’t alone, as Fairmont Senior hosts Ritchie County at the Woody Williams Armory tonight in a battle of 18-6 teams. The Polar Bears are playing for a second straight trip to the state tournament.
For North Marion, it is a chance that has been a long time coming for the program, which has reached the state tournament five times and won a triple-A state title in 1999 but has not made the trip to Charleston in nine years.
“It’s been a while,” Freeman said of the program, which made back-to-back state tourney appearances in 2003-04. “All season, we’ve been taking things one day at a time but I feel we’ve got a great opportunity to win.
“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people — ex-players to people who are alumni wishing us the best of luck — so it means a lot to our area and school for us to go down there and have a good showing.”
A good showing certainly seems possible.
While state-ranked Webster is 19-3, has won eight straight and is coming off a 74-48 victory over Ritchie County for the sectional title, they haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of tough opponents. In fact, two of the Highlanders’ losses have come to Notre Dame, a Class A school that sits at 13-8 going into this week’s regional game with Moorefield.