By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian
Heading into the sectional tournament, which kicked off Monday night, two teams in Marion County are ranked tops in the state. Here’s the breakdown:
LOOKING BACK: Three of the four losses in the top 10 came in the form of double-ranked game where both teams were in the top 10. Fairmont Senior was able to throttle Lincoln, Westside took down Summers County and Clay County lost to Scott. Clay County also lost to Tolsia, which was unranked. Clay County’s losses came by a combined six points. Two ranked teams reached 18 wins while Fairmont Senior holds the best regular season at 17-1, losing only to Class AAA Morgantown to start the season.
MOVING UP/ FALLING DOWN: The biggest move comes in the form of North Marion moving up from third to second after Summers County lost to Westside. The loss for Summers County drops it to fourth while Westside takes over the third spot. Lincoln and Sissonville switch places with Sissonville moving up to fifth and the Lady Cougars falling just one spot after losing to the top-ranked Lady Polar Bears. With Clay County’s losses, it moves to 10th while Keyser takes ninth. Scott and PikeView remained the same at seventh and eighth, respectively.
BIG 10 RESPECT: Big 10 Conference teams have been demanding respect all season and now they’ve gotten it with two teams from the conference taking the top two spots and a third one coming in sixth. Both Fairmont Senior and North Marion have beaten Lincoln, though, and the two teams will likely square off for sectional gold on Friday.
As has been all season, not many changes have been made to the boys’ poll released Monday by the Associated Press. Here’s the breakdown:
LOOKING BACK: Like the girls’ poll, there were four losses in the boys’ top 10. The top four teams — Robert C. Byrd, Poca, Bluefield and Wyoming East — all picked up perfect weeks with the closest victory coming in the form of Bluefield over Princeton, 69-64. From there, Bridgeport lost to Class AAA Lewis County by just three, Petersburg lost to Pendleton County by four, Scott lost to Bluefield by 10 and Roane County lost to Williamstown by a single point.
MOVING UP/ FALLING DOWN: The top four teams remain intact from last week. Westside moved up from seventh to fifth while Bridgeport dropped to sixth – just one spot. Petersburg dropped from sixth to a tie for seventh with Scott while Chapmanville and Roane County, which were in a tie for ninth last week, round out at ninth and 10th, respectively.
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: Fairmont Senior remains right outside of the top 10, being the only team to receive votes not in the top 10, getting six votes. The Polar Bears have been fighting to keep pace with the rest of the state since dropping out of the poll.
SECTIONAL OUTLOOK: The boys’ sectional tournament seedings were released Monday, as well. In Region I, Section I, Fairmont Senior took the top spot and will play the winner of the play-in game between Weir and Oak Glen. Meanwhile, North Marion is seeded second and will play East Fairmont with the winner squaring off against the winner of the Fairmont Senior game for the sectional title. The games begin on March 1.
BIG MATCHUPS: During the last week of the regular season, No. 3 Bluefield and No. 4 Wyoming East will do battle, headlining the week.
Email Matt Welch at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.