There are many intriguing story lines in the Class AAA, Region III sectional portion of the girls’ basketball postseason, which gets under way with a doubleheader tonight inside the Woody Williams Armory.

First, West Fairmont begins its run at a fourth consecutive berth to the state tournament when the Polar Bears (8-13) battle North Marion (11-10) at 6 p.m. in Section 2.

Second, the Huskies have not made a trip to Charleston since Jessica Sell’s senior year in 2002.

And third, East Fairmont looks to qualify to the state tournament for the first time since 2003 — the only time the Bees’ have advanced.

East (15-6) tangles with Preston also tonight for the Section 1 title, but the game will not begin until 30 minutes after the conclusion of West and North Marion.

The Bees, ranked 10th in the final regular-season poll, swept the Knights this season and enter as the favorite to represent Region III in Charleston.

“I tried to explain to our girls that all of those 21 games has been practice,” East head coach Bill Malone said. “Everyone is starting with a clean slate. And anything can happen on any given night. So we have to come out ready to play.”

The Bees started out the season by going 5-4 in December with two tough losses against Bridgeport and another close setback against John Marshall — two state-ranked teams.

Since the calendar flipped to 2007, East has won 10 of 12 games. The Bees only losses during that stretch are against North Central Athletic Conference champion Morgantown and upset-minded Elkins last Friday.

“That’s one you just have to forget about and put behind you,” Malone said. “You hate that to happen, but you know it’s possible. You can’t show up and expect to win even though you’ve beaten a team twice.

“Sometimes it’s not the team with the most talent that wins, but the team that plays smarter that wins.”

Meanwhile, North Marion and West split their two meetings during the regular season, with each team winning by double digits on its home court.

The Polar Bears won the first contest, 71-60, back on Jan. 12 while the Huskies responded with a 66-47 victory on Feb. 2.

West will look to lean on its experience, which includes senior starters Emily Keener and Mary Donato.

“We talk a lot about sharing the ball,” head coach Meredith Anderson said. “And the times we’re successful it’s because we’re playing like a group that’s played before. As long as we do that, we’ll be successful.”

However, as the Polar Bears have found out this season, nothing comes easy, and everything seems to be a struggle.

“It has (been a struggle), but we’re talking about just getting back to basics,” Anderson said. “Defensively and offensively, we have to do the things that we do well and capitalize on them.”

Unlike the Polar Bears, the Huskies feature a young roster with only four upperclassmen, including junior starters Haley Hursey and Cara Carpenter.

North Marion seems to be playing its best basketball of the season. The Huskies have won five of their last seven games.

“We’ve come a long way with a young team,” head coach Mike Parrish said. “For a lot of our girls, this will be their first experience in a sectional game. But they have a lot of games under them now, they’ve grown throughout the year, and they should be prepared.”

E-mail Andrew Manzo at dmanzo@timeswv.com.

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