Thanks to seeding, state hoops could be bloomin’ good
IT’S NOT EXACTLY A DREAM come true, but compared to recent years, it’s pretty darn close.
    This season could be something special for both the girls’ (March 9-12) and the boys’ (March 16-19) state basketball tournaments in Class AAA.
    Remember, in years past, how so many regions were so loaded, while others were especially weak? So, you ended up with two or three teams advancing to the state tournament that didn’t belong, while other teams with 17-to-20 wins stayed home.
    Then, to make matters worse, the state tournament brackets would usually match two of the better teams in the first round. So, by the time you got to the state title game, there was very little drama.
    The first part you can do very little about.
    The second part you can, which leaves open the door on this year’s Class AAA tournaments to be good ones.
    For the first time in tournament history, coaches will be seeding the eight surviving teams, meaning you could see a little more balance in the brackets.
    The Secondary School Activities Commission will release the seedings and first-round pairings on a statewide radio show, the day after the Class A regional games, according to SSAC executive director Mike Hayden.
    What’s the exciting part?
    If you go strictly by rankings and which region each team is from, there is a chance for six of the top eight girls’ teams to get in, while seven of the top eight boys’ teams could make it. This is, of course, barring any upsets, which usually happen, but we’ll leave that for another time.
    So here we go with some early first-round predictions. First, the girls:
    (1) Capital vs. (8) Lewis County
    (2) Morgantown vs. (7) Fairmont Senior
    (3) Huntington vs. (6) Greenbrier East
    (4) South Charleston vs. (5) Hedgesville
    It looks like the top four would survive, meaning South Charleston guard and Connecticut signee Renee Montgomery would get to meet her former teammates in the semifinals, while Morgantown and Huntington could be a nice matchup.
    Who’s left out? (5) University and (7) Wheeling Park, which are both in the same region as Morgantown, and are both better than the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in the tournament, as is (9) Parkersburg South, which is in the same region as Capital. Final prediction: Capital vs. Morgantown in title game. Now for the boys: (1) Parkersburg vs. (8) Preston or Fairmont Senior (2) Huntington vs. (7) Hedgesville (3) George Washington vs. (6) Morgantown (4) Woodrow Wilson vs. (5) Bridgeport For the past two seasons, the No. 1-ranked team has lost in the first round, but don’t expect to see it happen this year. A great firstround matchup could pit defending state champ Woodrow Wilson against Bridgeport, which could be 24-0 heading into the game. George Washington and Morgantown have already played, with the Patriots winning, 67-64. Who’s left out: (4) Capital, which is in same region as Parkersburg, and this might be the biggest shame of the tournament, because Capital guard Josh “Cookie” Miller is the most exciting player to watch.
    Also, you could see some mild upsets. Elkins, ranked No. 9, could eliminate Bridgeport in regionals, and either Jefferson or Martinsburg could beat Hedgesville. In Region I, you could see University or Wheeling Park. If it’s UHS, the Hawks would probably be a No. 7 seed.
JUSTIN JACKSON covers high school sports for The Dominion Post. Reach him at