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Postgame video recaps: Ritchie County 42, Williamstown 21 (Class A Final)

WHEELING, W.Va. — Game highlights from No. 4 Ritchie County’s 42-21 win over No. 6 Williamstown in the Class A Championship game.

(Postgame “Round of Sound”)
(Greg Carey and Joe Brocato break down the game)

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Sherman scores 27, West Virginia coasts by Radford, 67-51

For the sixth time in West Virginia’s eight games, Mountaineer guard Taz Sherman led all scorers.

This time, it was Sherman’s 27-point effort Saturday against Radford that helped WVU notch a fourth straight win, 67-51, before 11,014 at the Coliseum.

“We played well for a while, like we have been doing,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “We played well for a while and then we quit playing. We get a lead, and then let it go. We come out and defend. Do a really good job defending, rotating, doing the right things. Things we worked on, worked on in practice, got better. We did a really good job for a while and then we quit doing that.”

Led by first-year head coach and former West Virginia point guard Darris Nichols, the Highlanders (4-5) never led as their win streak came to an end at three games.

With West Virginia (7-1) playing without Sean McNeil, who was sidelined with a lower back injury, Sherman poured in 21 first-half points. He made 7-of-13 field-goal attempts, a pair of 3-pointers and all five free throws.

“When we found out McNeil wasn’t playing, we knew that Taz was definitely going to step up,” Nichols said. “That’s what he did. He made tough shots. With their team, they have a lot of guys that can drive and space you out. That’s what we were trying to prepare for. We were trying to eliminate their opportunities in the paint, but they did a really good job at getting into the paint.”

Midway through the opening half, Sherman made three free throws to give him 12 points and West Virginia a 22-14 lead.

The teams were relatively even for the next 9 minutes and the Mountaineers led 34-24 with inside 1 minute remaining in the half. Sherman then scored five points during an 8-0 run to end the half, with Pauly Paulicap’s conventional three-point play providing the other offense in the flurry that allowed WVU to lead 42-24 at the intermission.

Gabe Osabuohien had all six of his points in the opening half, while Paulicap scored five of his seven over the first 20 minutes.

“Pauly has really worked hard and has become a pretty reliable player,” Huggins said.

The Mountaineers made 13-of-21 two-point shots in the first half, while the Highlanders had an equal number of field goals and turnovers — 10.

West Virginia was never threatened the rest of the way and Paulicap’s basket 4:20 into the second half gave the Mountaineers their biggest lead of the game, 54-27.

Seth Wilson’s triple midway through the final half made it 61-36, but the Mountaineers managed only six points the rest of the way.

Two of those six came on a James Okonkwo dunk as the 6-foot-8 true freshman from Maidenhead, England saw his first action of the season.

“The thing with James was I wanted to make sure his family is good with it, because he had that foot problem earlier,” Huggins said. “I just wanted to make sure his family was good with it, that they were behind with it, being so far away. There’s no sense at redshirting anybody anymore.”

Sherman, now averaging 21 points, was West Virginia’s only double figure scorer. He made 9-of-17 field-goal attempts, while the remainder of the Mountaineers combined to make 17-of-46 shots.

WVU scored 31 points off 20 Radford turnovers, while holding the Highlanders to 40 percent shooting.

“I watched film from last season of West Virginia playing Texas,” Nichols said. “Early on in that game, WVU struggled with the step-up ball screens. So, we wanted to start doing that early in this game. They figured it out, and we started running some five-out open post stuff. We already knew that they were going to be a great defensive team. The biggest focus for us was getting over the press break and taking care of the ball once we got over half court.”

Bryan Hart led the Highlanders with 9 points on three triples.

The Mountaineers go for a fifth straight victory in their fourth of five consecutive home games Wednesday against Connecticut.

As for McNeil’s availability for that game, Huggins sounded unsure.

“I have no idea. I haven’t been in the training room,” Huggins said. “I haven’t talked to him. I have enough to do trying to get these guys to play.”

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Historic season ends for WVU men’s soccer in shootout at Georgetown

The WVU men’s soccer team could not hold onto an early lead and saw their season end in a penalty kick shootout at Georgetown in the NCAA quarterfinals. After 110 minutes of regulation and overtime play resulted in a 1-1 draw, the No. 3 Hoyas prevailed in the shootout, 4-1.

No. 11 West Virginia (12-3-6) was staked to an early lead in the 16th minute when Yoran Popovich netted his fifth goal of the season. Fairmont Senior graduate Ike Swiger and Luke McCormick assisted on the tally. The Mountaineers led 1-0 at halftime.

Georgetown leveled the match in the 67th minute when Dante Polvara scored his sixth goal of the season on a penalty kick.

The Hoyas converted on all four of their attempts in the shootout, ending the season for the Mountaineers. Georgetown held a 15-11 lead in shots but the Mountaineers led 6-4 in shots on goal. Steve Tekesky made three saves in the Mountaineer net.

“We left here with no regrets,” WVU head coach Dan Stratford said. “We played a great game against a great team. (There were) marginal decisions. It’s a penalty shootout, so it could’ve gone either way, but we just played a team that has been (in the quarterfinals) for three years in a row, won it all in 2019, and is 12-0 at home. But between the two sides, I’d argue we came on stronger in the second half despite having the lead. So, I’m just so proud of our players’ effort and the courage they’ve shown all season.”

West Virginia competed in the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in forty years. Georgetown (18-2-1) advances to the College Cup next weekend in Cary, N.C.

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Clement shines, Martinsburg rolls to 62-21 victory against Huntington

WHEELING, W.Va. — In his last high school football game, Martinsburg senior Hudson Clement rewrote the record books at Wheeling Island Stadium.

In turn, the Bulldogs rolled past Huntington for a 62-21 victory, securing their ninth Class AAA championship since 2010.

Clement, a senior wideout and defensive back, stole the show from the opening kick. He rushed for four touchdowns and caught an additional four scores to finish with eight TDs and set a Super Six scoring record in the process.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” Clement said. “You don’t go into a state championship game thinking you’re going to score eight touchdowns, but when you do, it’s insane.”

One year after the Bulldogs were bounced from the postseason as a result of the color-coded covid map, they notched a fifth consecutive title in contests played at the Super Six.

“Last year, the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my coaching career was tell sixteen seniors that they had to go home for no reason,” second-year Martinsburg head coach Britt Sherman said. “We didn’t lose on the field. It was just, ‘you have to go home.’ To be able to play it out this year is really special for these kids.”

With his younger brother, Murphy Clement, sidelined with an injury suffered two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were down one of their two quarterbacks regularly used throughout the season.

That left Ezra Bagent as the team’s primary quarterback, and he made the most of his extra opportunities.

Bagent, the younger brother of former Martinsburg and current Shepherd standout Tyson Bagent, completed 12-of-21 passes for 207 yards and five touchdowns.

“Midway through the first quarter, I knew I was in my groove and that we were going to be moving the ball against these guys,” Bagent said.

Hudson Clement also found success being utilized in a similar role to his brother, taking shotgun snaps in a wildcat set within the red zone.

That’s how he started the scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run that left the Bulldogs (13-1) with a 7-0 lead at the 5:31 mark of the first quarter. Clement set up his first touchdown by intercepting Highlanders’ quarterback Gavin Lochow, allowing MHS to start at the Huntington 26.

After an exchange of turnovers, Huntington (13-1) tied it at 7 when Lochow connected with Noah Waynick for a 6-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

It was all Bulldogs from that point forward.

Clement’s 3-yard TD run capped a seven play, 68-yard drive that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good at 14-7 with 10:46 left in the opening half.

A key sequence followed as Lochow was stopped just short of the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the Martinsburg 3, giving the Bulldogs the ball back with 4:49 remaining.

Five plays later, Clement had his third rushing touchdown from 3 yards. The 99-yard drive was aided by Clement’s 34-yard one-handed reception and Eric King’s 57-yard run, and it left MHS with a 20-7 advantage.

“That was huge,” Huntington head coach Billy Seals said. “Even if we didn’t get it, we felt like we could stop them down there and still get the ball back in pretty good field position. They ripped off a big run and got a couple plays and scored. That was a little bit of a back-breaker in the first half and I kind of felt like the tide turned after that.”

“Just being able to execute like that on offense and go 99 yards against arguably the best defense in the state other than our guys, it really set the tone for the day,” Sherman added.

Eleven seconds later, the Bulldogs had another TD after the Highlanders misplayed a pooch kick that was recovered by Xerxees Yancey, which set up Bagent’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Clement. The two-point pass play was incomplete, leaving MHS with a 26-7 lead.

“Ezra’s a big-time player,” Clement said.

Lochow’s 38-yard pass to Nakyin Harrell got the Highlanders to within 12, but the Bulldogs answered with Bagent’s 29-yard TD pass to Jacob Barrick, who also brought in the two-point pass to make it 34-14.

Avion Blackwood’s interception of a Lochow pass, combined with a 33-yard return, enabled Martinsburg to add to its advantage just before halftime when Bagent connected with Clement on a 10-yard pass to make it a 27-point game at halftime.

Lochow’s 1-yard TD run on the first series of the second half proved to be Huntington’s final scoring play and closed its deficit to 20.

Soon after, Clement produced his final rushing touchdown on a 5-yard scamper, before Barrick’s interception led to Bagent’s 21-yard TD pass to Clement. Stephon Barclay hauled in the two-point pass, leaving the Bulldogs with a 55-21 lead at the 6:52 mark of the third quarter.

“I knew we had to kick them while they were down basically,” Bagent said.

Bagent’s 40-yard pass to Clement capped the scoring with 2:26 left in the third, before the fourth quarter was played with a running clock.

Four of Clement’s seven rushing attempts were touchdowns. He amassed 41 yards on the ground and hauled in eight passes for 175 yards.

“When you have a great offense and a great team that can execute, that’s what’s going to happen,” Clement said. “It could’ve been anybody on the field. It was just great execution as a team.”

King rushed for a game-high 152 yards on 17 attempts.

Lochow rushed for 88 yards on 20 attempts and completed 11-of-23 passes for 185 yards. Martinsburg intercepted him five times for a new Super Six record.

“We won the turnover battle all year long and we were minus five today,” Seals said. “You can’t do that here and you can’t do that against Martinsburg. We gave up the ball and too many opportunities in good field position. Maybe the stage got to us a little bit today. It all falls back on me.”

Scout Arthur led all players with 14 tackles in defeat.

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Potstgame video recaps: Martinsburg 62, Huntington 21 (Class AAA final)

(Game highlights)

WHEELING, W.Va. — Postgame video recaps from No. 1 Martinsburg’s 62-21 win over No. 2 Huntington in the Class AAA state championship game.

(Greg Carey and Joe Brocato break down the game)
(Postgame “Round of Sound”)

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DNR launches Big Buck Photo Contest for WV hunters

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time, the state Division of National Resources is holding a Big Buck Photo Contest during the deer gun season.

Hunters are asked to upload a photo of them and the buck they harvested during the 2021 hunting season and write a short account of their hunt.

Governor Jim Justice applauded the program and said hunting in West Virginia is special to him. He hopes to see a good turn out.

“It’ll touch your soul. It’s an experience you will remember forever,” Justice said. “You’ll remember even how things smell in the woods with the crisp air and the cold wind blowing on your face. It’s just a spectacular part of growing up in West Virginia. I hope you all take advantage.”

Those who enter the contest must have a valid 2021 West Virginia Hunting License to participate and will need to enter the 13-digit DNR-issued game check number for their buck.

Five lucky winners will be be drawn. There are a number of prizes including a free lifetime West Virginia hunting license, a two-night stay in a Cabwaylingo State Forest cabin, a two-night stay in a Seneca State Forest cabin, a $500 Bass Pro Shops gift card and a $500 Cabela’s gift card.

The contest is open through Dec. 27.

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Marshall looks to get back on track against Duquesne

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A disappointing road trip is in the rearview mirror for Marshall, which hopes to recapture its winning ways on its home floor when a two-game home stand starts Saturday night against Duquesne at the Cam Henderson Center. The game tips off at 7 p.m. can be seen on ESPN+.

Marshall head coach Dan D’Antoni was not happy with the play of his squad in Wednesday night’s 88-86 loss at Akron in which the Herd were outscored 5-0 by the Zips over the final 25 seconds.

Herd junior guard Taevion Kinsey led Marshall (4-3) with 30 points, followed by junior guard Andrew Taylor’s 26.

The road trip began with a 90-79 loss last Saturday at Indiana.

D’Antoni says he’s disappointed in his team’s lack of fight.

“That game wasn’t won or lost at the end of the game,” D’Antoni said. “That game was won or lost in the beginning of the game. We came out and we played sluggish, we played slow and we played soft. We can’t have those types of moments.”

D’Antoni’s postgame remarks were echoed by Kinsey.

“You’ve got to play with a fire from the beginning,” Kinsey said. “You’ve got to come out ready to play. We did not come out ready.

“Some energy has to change. Everybody needs to look at themselves in the mirror and figure out if they want to play this game. There’s got to be a fire.”

Duquesne is 3-5 on the season, losing at home on Wednesday to Bowling Green 78-70. The Dukes’ three wins came against Rider, Bradley and American. Besides Bowling Green, the Dukes suffered losses to Colorado, Weber State, Northeastern and Hofstra.

Keith Dambrot is in his fifth season leading the Dukes and has a 68-52 record in Pittsburgh. Dambrot has an 8-1 record against Marshall, going 7-0 against the Herd when he coached at Akron. He is 1-1 against the Thundering Herd at Duquesne.

The Dukes lead the all-time series with Marshall, 4-2. The teams last met in December 2019 in the Cleveland Classic, with the Herd coming away with an 83-61 victory.

Duquesne has four players who average double figure scoring, led by sophomore forward Kevin Easley Jr. (13.5 ppg). He’s joined in double figures by junior guard Leon Ayres (13.4 ppg), sophomore forward/center Tre Williams (12.1 ppg) and freshman guard Amir Spears (11.8 ppg). Williams and Easley are the Dukes’ top rebounders, each averaging nearly seven.

Duquesne shoots 40.5 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from the 3-point line and a respectable 71.5 percent from the free throw line.

Kinsey leads Marshall in scoring at 21.3 points per game. Other double figure scorers for Marshall include Taylor (14.1 ppg), freshman forward Obinna Anochili-Killen (12.3 ppg) and senior forward Darius George (12 ppg). Anochili-Killen leads Marshall in rebounding with 7.4 per game.

The Herd is outsourcing opponents by six points per game and shooting 46.7 percent from the field, but just 29.8 percent from the 3-point line.

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Giving Tuesday grant to add e-bike tech education in Monongalia County Schools

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The first bike tech in a school classroom and curriculum program in the state to teach high school students how to ride, repair and maintain eBikes is coming to Monongalia County Schools.

The initiative stems from a Giving Tuesday $60,000 grant from Rad Power Bikes. Project Bike Tech (PBT)and the Youth Cycling Coalition are also partners in the classroom.

PBT was developed in California as a method to teach kids about bikes, teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math principals, create career opportunities and get kids excited about cycling. Now, PBT has similar teaching labs across the country.

Rad Power Bikes is based in Seattle, but has locations throughout the world. The concept started in 2007 when current CEO and Founder Mike Radenbaugh built his first ebike to get to school. In 2015, the company was founded with his friend and college roommate Ty Collins when they began to build the RadRover electric fat bike.

“Technical education is being pulled away from school systems and this is Rad planting a flag and investing in the future of technicians and mechanics- people that are experts in this form of transportation,” RadenBaugh said.

Morgantown was selected from field of 33 towns across the country. However, Morgantown was added late in the selection process when the panel heard about the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Collaborative along with the need locally.

Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell said the program will provide students with an opportunity to learn a skill, learn a trade, and fill a need in the growing cycling community.

“We’ve kind of been smacked in the face and said- if we’re going to engage kids in learning we’ve got to get them into projects,” Campbell said. “We’ve got to them into hands-on learning situations where they are fully engaged in the activity they are working on- they are fully invested in it.”

Local officials have selected which high school will receive the facility.

According to Assistant Vice President of the Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative Greg Corio, the state-of-the-art classroom will include 10 workstations, tools and stands all designed to work on ebikes. There is a possibility the facility could be opened to the public on a limited basis.

“An ebike is really an electric car, but pulled down into two wheels and a lighter, smaller form,” Radenbaugh said. “So, an eBike has a motor controller, a battery, an electric motor built into the rear wheel with a display and a throttle. So, you have this whole power train- an electronic system.”

Radenbaugh said the ebike business has grown exponentially over the last year and 60 percent of the bike owners are in suburban and rural areas.

“Our customers are using the bikes to take their dog for a walk, run to the grocery store and drop their kids off at school,” Radenbaugh said. “Using them just like they would a car, pickup or SUV.”

Superintendent Campbell likened the program to other vocational programs offered at M-Tech. He said while those skills are being developed the services can be offered to the public for a fee.

“The sustainability piece I think is very easy in a program like this,” Campbell said. “This isn’t something you can’t keep rolling because there are different ways that we can engage the community that can bring funds into the program.”

Campbell said a decision is coming soon on which Monongalia County high school will be home to the program.

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Active COVID cases top 8,000 in WV Saturday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Active COVID-19 cases surpassed 8,000 Saturday, continuing a steady climb in recent days.

The state Department of Health and Human Resources reported no new deaths. The total number of pandemic-related deaths is nearing 5,000 and now at 4,962.

There were 1,168 new cases.

Hospitalizations stand at 583 patients with 192 in the ICU and 97 on ventilators.

Tucker is the only county in West Virginia in the “green” on the DHHR’s COVID-19 County Alert Map.

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No dismissal for defendants in W.Va. transgender athletes case

A federal judge has rejected motions by state and local officials to be dismissed from a lawsuit over a new law affecting West Virginia transgender athletes.

Joseph Goodwin

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin ruled that middle school athlete Becky Pepper-Jackson, the plaintiff, has demonstrated that she would be affected by the new law.

“She has adequately alleged an injury-in-fact — that she will be treated differently on the basis of sex,” the judge wrote.

Goodwin concluded that the state school board, the Harrison County school board and the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission should not be dismissed because each would play a role in enforcing the law. The same goes for officials such as state Superintendent Clayton Burch and Harrison County Superintendent Dora Stutler, defendants in the lawsuit because of their positions.

Judge Goodwin earlier issued a preliminary injunction in the case, so this is the second time he has ruled in favor of the young athlete’s position. Although the temporary injunction halted application of the law for the time being, longer-term issues are still under consideration by the federal court.

Loree Stark

“We’ve said all along that this bill is not only cruel and stigmatizing but also unconstitutional. With this ruling today, we look forward to proving our case in court,” stated Loree Stark, legal director of ACLU-West Virginia.

This year, West Virginia joined dozens of states placing restrictions on transgender athletes’ participation on sports teams.

House Bill 3293 defines male and female “based solely on the individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.” It says “any student aggrieved by a violation of this section may bring an action” against a county board of education or college “alleged to be responsible for the alleged violation” — intended to allow lawsuits over anyone contending a transgender athlete was gaining advantage in sports.

Lawyers for Becky Pepper-Jackson — or B.P.J., as she is identified in court filings — are challenging the law under Title IX policy and the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

“H.B. 3293 requires each defendant to prevent B.P.J. from playing on girls’ sports teams; no future factual development will change that effect,” Goodwin wrote.

“Second, and consistent with my ruling on the preliminary injunction, B.P.J. has sufficiently alleged that she will experience hardship if this law is enforced against her.”

Each of the entities that wanted to be dismissed from the lawsuit argued that they didn’t initiate the law that is being challenged.

For example, the State Board of Education maintains not only that it didn’t push for the law but that it wouldn’t be the entity to enforce it either.

“The actual enforcement of West Virginia Code 18-2-25d, which plaintiff asserts results in her injury, is not and will not be by WVBOE and/or Superintendent Burch,” wrote lawyers for the state board.

“WVBOE and Superintendent Burch have not enforced the statute against Plaintiff and neither will be the party enforcing the statute against Plaintiff in the future.”

Becky Pepper-Jackson, the lawsuit states, was born male but identified as a girl from a very young age. By third grade, she was living as a girl at home and told her mother and father she did not want to keep going to school dressed as a boy.

Within the past few years, she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and had been receiving puberty-delaying treatment for almost a year when West Virginia passed the bill affecting transgender athletes. The lawsuit was meant to assure she could go through with her hope of trying out for the cross-country and track teams at Bridgeport Middle School.

“I just want to run, and the state wants to stop me from running as part of a team at my school,” Becky said in a news release distributed by ACLU-West Virginia. “I love running, and being part of a team, and the State of West Virginia should explain in court why they won’t let me.”

Becky Pepper-Jackson

Goodwin’s order also provided analysis of how the judge will use pronouns going forward in the case.

Because of the way West Virginia’s law is set up, the judge noted that it will be necessary to differentiate between males and females, as assigned at birth, without regard to their gender identity. So, when referring to someone’s sex assigned at birth, the judge said he will use “biological male” and “biological female.”

Otherwise, Goodwin wrote, “I will use the pronouns associated with a person’s gender identity. In doing so, I am not expressing any opinion, political, judicial, or otherwise about any issue in this case.”

But, the judge noted, “I will not order any litigant to use the language that I use.”

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