Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on December 16, 2003.
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Martinsburg No. 1 in Class AAA poll

AP Photo

Brandon Barrett, shown announcing his decision to play college football at WVU, and his Martinsburg Bulldogs are Class AAA title contenders.

Associated Press

CHARLESTON -- Brandon Barrett has one final chance to win a state championship for Martinsburg.

Martinsburg was voted the No. 1 team in Class AAA Monday in The Associated Press boys preseason high school basketball poll. Defending champion Magnolia was picked first in Class AA and Parkersburg Catholic was selected No. 1 in Class A.

Martinsburg, whose only state basketball title came in 1994, received six of 10 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers statewide.

The Bulldogs lost to Parkersburg South in the championship game both in basketball last season and earlier this month in football. Barrett, an all-stater in both sports, returns for his senior season.

Woodrow Wilson and Parkersburg South were picked second and third, respectively.

Woodrow Wilson, which has 14 state basketball titles but none since 1998, lost only three seniors from last season and received three first-place votes while Parkersburg South received one.

Parkersburg South returns four seniors, but Ben Gum is expected to sit out this winter. He was the basketball team's best defensive player and leading returning scorer. He ran for 232 yards and three second-half touchdowns in the title-clinching football win over Martinsburg.

Morgantown was fourth in the poll, followed by South Charleston, Wheeling Park, George Washington, North Marion, Riverside and St. Albans. St. Albans senior Adam Williams, who will play at Kentucky, is the only state basketball player so far to sign with a Division I school.

Magnolia, which beat Oak Hill 61-48 for last season's Class AA championship, received nine of 10 first-place votes. The Blue Eagles have four returning starters, including Ted Talkington, who led the state in scoring at 29.5 points per game.

Tug Valley was No. 2, followed by Westside and Poca. Bluefield, Mount View, Oak Hill and Winfield were tied for fifth, Logan was ninth and Wyoming East was 10th. Logan received the other first-place vote.

Parkersburg Catholic, which lost to Wheeling Central 57-43 in last year's championship game, was voted No. 1 in Class A and Wheeling Central was second.

Each team received three first-place votes.

Gilmer County was third and Williamson was fourth. Moorefield and Tolsia were tied for fifth. Doddridge County was seventh, followed by Midland Trail, Williamstown and Mercer Christian.

Doddridge, Gilmer, Williamson and unranked Burch received the other first-place votes.

The boys regular season begins this week.

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