MHS fans absent from state tourney

“NOW WE’LL PRESENT the individual awards for Class AAA,” came the words over the public address system Saturday night, after Morgantown High had defeated South Charleston for the girls’ state basketball championship.
    The first award, for best cheering section, went to Greenbrier East. Not exactly a surprise since the Spartans bring about two or three chartered buses filled with students every year.
    The second award, for best sportsmanship, went to Morgantown High.
    This is where we take a monumental pause.
    Still pausing ... still pausing ... and, yes, still pausing.
    If the award, which is handed out by tournament officials, is based solely on a team’s and coach’s sportsmanship, then that’s fine.
    If the award also considers the sportsmanship of the student and cheering sections of the school, then we have a problem.
    Why? Because Morgantown High had no cheering section.
    Take the first-round game over Elkins on Wednesday, you had a few moms and dads in the crowd.
    Students? The only things in the student section Wednesday night were cockroaches and crickets. Now, one of the crickets must have been a big fan, because he made a “Go Mohigans” sign, but of course he’s a cricket, so no one saw it.
    You say it’s a school night? OK, fine. It didn’t stop other schools’ students, who had to travel farther than anyone from Morgantown, from stopping by.
    So, we move to Friday night, a great game in what was a 72-65 victory by MHS over Parkersburg South.
    Well, the moms and dads were still there ... so were 10 students.
    Ah, but a mighty voiceful 10 it was.
    Well, actually it wasn’t.
    Then we have the state championship game, the end-all-be-all of any basketball season. It’s the one game players around the state dream of playing and the one game the locals should take some pride in by supporting their team.
    There was a special appearance by MHS boys’ basketball coach Tom Yester, along with a few of his players who will be participating in this week’s state tournament (my guess is in front of nearly the same number of local fans.)
    And there were a few more faces in the crowd than the first two games, along with about 10, or so, extra students.
    So, my guess as to why MHS won the best sportsmanship award is simply because they had nobody down there yelling at referees, not that the refs could hear them over the real fans, anyway.
    As far as the most entertaining student section for the tournament, that honor easily went to the students and fans of Petersburg High, their faces painted red. They seemed to bring the entire town, filling up the Charleston Civic Center.
    The second-best moment from the students came when they began to get on the refs by telling them to go back to Foot Locker.
    Their best moment by far was a real doozie, but unfortunately a little too risque to be printed here.
    And as far as the tournament itself, the Secondary School Activities Commission has made a hit by seeding the tournament.
    Sure, it makes the first round games a little boring by the number of blowouts, but the semifinals and usually the title games are worth the price of admission.
    And the seedings for this week’s boys’ tournament came out as most people expected, meaning it may end up being one of the best tournaments in years.
JUSTIN JACKSON covers high school sports for The Dominion Post. Reach him at