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Williamstown stays unbeaten with 75-55 win over Wheeling Central

NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va. — Highlights from Williamstown’s 75-55 win over Wheeling Central Catholic in the 12th Annual Magnolia Rotary Challenge.

(Highlights by Teran Malone)

Williamstown (14-0):

Eli Inman – 28 points

Sam Cremeans – 17 points

Colton Luther – 10 points

Wheeling Central Catholic (11-5):

Ryan Reasbeck – 31 points


Full tournament scores:

Cameron 65, Paden City 39

Madonna 66, Tyler Consolidated 45

Williamstown 75, Wheeling Central Catholic 55

Beallsville, Oh. 53, Magnolia 33 (Girls)

Magnolia 65, Valley Wetzel 36


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NO School Spirit winners tout dangers of underage drinking

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration says Mt. Hope Christ Academy is the winner in the agency’s 7th annual NO School Spirits PSA (Public Service Announcement) contest.

The educational program challenges students to produce a short video highlighting the dangers of underage drinking.

ABCA Commissioner Fred Wooten said he expanded the recognition to fourth and fifth place in this year’s contest because of the large number of entries.

“Clearly the program is successfully serving a great need and public interest continues to grow. The contest was very competitive this year with many high-quality video entries,” Wooten said.

The agency said nearly 400 students in 38 high schools and middle schools participated.

Mt. Hope Christian Academy receives $5,000 for its first place finish. Nitro High finished second and will receive $2,500. Two separate entries from Cabell Midland High School finished third ($1,000) and fourth ($750). Students at Independence Middle School in Raleigh County were the fifth place finishers and will also receive $750.

The winning video will be broadcast on radio and television stations this spring during prom and graduation seasons.

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Charleston Catholic comes from behind upsets AAA top-ranked Cabell Midland

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — First-year Charleston Catholic Coach Hunter Moles said he told his players at halftime of Saturday night’s game against unbeaten Cabell Midland that it wasn’t over despite the Irish trailing by 15 points.

“I told them we were still in the game and all we needed were a few stops,” Moles said after he watched his Class A team come from behind and upset the AAA Knights 70-64.

Moles’ team looked stunned as it headed into the locker room after Cabell-Midland (12-1) ended the second quarter on a 17-0 run. Catholic (9-3) led 31-29 with about 3:00 left in the half. But Midland turned on the gas and had a 46-31 advantage at the half.

The Irish got it going in the third quarter. After giving up an initial basketball to the Knights Catholic went on their own double digit run cutting the lead to 55-51 at the end of the quarter.

A seven-point run to begin the fourth gave the Irish a 58-55 lead with five minutes remaining. They were able to hang on and secure the victory.

Catholic followed Moles’ instructions and got stops in the second half. Knights leader scorer Chandler Schmidt, who scored 18 in the opening half, didn’t score a point in a frustrating second half. Catholic junior Zion Suddeth was matched up with Chandler most of the time. Suddeth was also leading the charge offensively. He scored all of his 18 points in the second half.

Midland, the top-ranked team in this week’s MetroNews Power Index, was able to erase an 11-point fourth quarter deficit on the road at Beckley earlier this week but couldn’t work its magic again. The Irish hit some big free throws down the stretch including a pair late from since Marshall Pile.

Along with Chandler Schmidt’s 18, the Knights wer led by KK Siebert’s 16. Palmer Riggio had 13.

The Irish four player sin double figures led by Aiden Satterfield with 19, Suddeth 18, Thomas Blaydes 13 and Pile’s 10.

The only remaining undefeated teams in boys basketball are Shady Spring, Pendleton County, Greenbrier West and Williamstown.

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Lincoln nets 11 triples in win over Tucker County

SHINNSTON, W.Va. — Four Cougars scored in double digits and they drained 11 3-pointers in a 76-40 win over Tucker County.

Lincoln broke open a close game at halftime with an impressive third quarter effort. The Cougars led 32-27 at the break before outscoring the Mountain Lions 27-6 in the third.

“I thought we did a good job taking advantage of our opportunities,” said Lincoln head coach Rob Hawkins. “When they had wide open threes they were taking it. We took advantage of some mismatches when we had it. We did a good job finding open people and running stuff when we were supposed to.”

Victoria Sturm led all scorers with 24 points.

“Vic can score in so many ways. She runs the floor well. We posted her up a couple times. She gives a great effort every night.”

Allison Rockwell scored 15 points while Brynne Williams added 13. Emily Jett chipped in with 10.

“They played off our bigs and Allison and Brynne can shoot it. Brynne had a big first half shooting the three and Allison had a big second half shooting the three.”

Terra Kuhn led the Mountain Lions (9-5) with 20 points.

Lincoln (9-4) suffered narrow losses to Winfield and Fairmont Senior this week and they will host North Marion (13-1) in a key Big 10 Conference contest Tuesday evening.

“This is a week to prove how good we are. We need to go in Tuesday and compete and get one of these games. If we want to be considered one of the elite teams in the state, at some point we are going to have to beat one of the elite teams in the state.”

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Jividen tells lawmakers more changes coming in fallout of Nazi salute photo

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Corrections and Rehabilitation Commissioner Betsy Jividen says changes have already taken place at the state’s correctional officers academy following the Nazi salute controversy.


Betsy Jividen

Jividen was before members of the House of Delegates Finance Committee last week and was asked what’s been done since the photo of Basic Training Class 18.

“We now have a duty officer on duty in the dorms. The demerit system has been reinstituted and the Anti-Defamation League is going to do some training,” Jividen said.

A state government review of the salutes said it all started as a joke but was embraced by the instructor who compared herself to Hitler.

Jividen told lawmakers she’s chosen to look at the incident as something to learn from.

“I’m looking through the lens that Rabbi (Victor) Urecki did and that my own Rabbi, from Wheeling, is looking at it—that we’re taking this as a teaching moment,” Jividen said. “We need to overcome hate. We don’t tolerate hate but we need to teach.”

The photo, shown on letterhead with the state symbol, is titled “Hail Byrd.” The instructor, Kassie Byrd, taught several classes, including “Cultural Diversity.”

Byrd was fired along with two other staff members. A report released Dec. 30 said four academy instructors had been suspended without pay. All of the class members in the photo who either made an open-handed or closed-handed salute were also fired.

Jividen said this incident should never be forgotten.

“Shame on us. All of us, if the Holocaust isn’t remembered like it should be. I have a personal interest and a professional interest to do all we can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Jividen said.

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Report: RISE says 3 more homes completed

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The RISE West Virginia long-term flood recovery program says three home projects were completed this week bringing the total number of projects completed to 111.

RISE, initially created following the June 2016, lists 80 homes involved in active construction. Most of those, 68, are reconstruction projects.

There are currently 368 active cases under RISE, 87 of those are awaiting various required approvals before construction bids can be awarded.

It’s possible RISE will have additional cases after a series of outreach events earlier this week by RISE and West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). The events took place in Clendenin, Rainelle, White Sulphur Springs, Maysel and Richwood.

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Bob Huggins wins No. 876 as Mountaineers blow past Missouri

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Baron of the Bluegrass officially has company with The Huggy Bear.

Bob Huggins tied Kentucky legend Adolph Rupp for seventh place all-time on the NCAA career wins list, earning his 876th career victory courtesy of a 74-51 laugher over Missouri (9-10) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Huggins was exactly as celebratory as you’d expect, comparing it to whenever his dad would reach coaching milestones in the Ohio high school ranks.

“I used to sit and listen to my dad, they’d tell him, ‘That was win number whatever’ and his response was ‘Man, that just means I’m old.’ Every one of those guys on there are old,” Huggins said. “I’m more caught up on we’re 16-3 and we need to be 29-3.”

None of West Virginia’s players were alive during Rupp’s lifetime, but they did recognize that history was made Saturday afternoon.

“We know he’s not going to make a big deal of it, because that’s not him,” said freshman guard Miles McBride, who tied Jermaine Haley with a team-high 15 points. “But everybody in that locker room wants everybody who is in that locker room to succeed. We knew we wanted to come out and get this win for him.”

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin, who played at Purdue when Huggins’ Cincinnati teams were at the height of their powers, also showed his respect.

“He’s a legend,” Martin said. “I’ve always admired him. For all these years, he’s allowed his players to have a voice. Especially in those years at Cincinnati, allowing them to grow as young men, especially coming from certain environments. I thought he’s always been one of the best at that.

“His teams have always been tough. They play hard and play together. The sign of a good culture is when the names on the back of the jersey change, but the program stays the same.”

To what extent was it West Virginia’s day?

On two separate occasions, the Mountaineers missed the front end of 1-and-1 free-throw attempts, grabbed the offensive rebound and promptly made three-pointers.

“Knowing the way we were shooting free throws, I knew we would have the opportunity to go for it,” said Gabe Osabuohien, who had one of those rebound-assists. “Playing hard and getting it, you know the three-pointer is open, kicking out. Being able to knock it down, it fueled us to keep it going.”

Game Highlights

This was also the second straight game in which West Virginia put its opponent to bed with a run of at least 20 points.

Clinging to a 26-25 lead early in the second half, the Mountaineers exploded for a 21-0 run to take the teeth out of the Tigers. Both three-pointers that began as missed free throws were part of that run.

Long runs are becoming habitual for the Mountaineers, who used a 28-2 explosion against Texas to pull away from the Longhorns on Monday night.

“We’ve got a lot of options on offense,” Haley said. “It starts with getting stops to get easy baskets. Coach says we’re not always going to be able to grind out possessions in the half-court. We did a great job of executing on defense in the second half.”

West Virginia’s strong start to the second half required some motivation from Huggins after the Mountaineers staggered to the locker room to close out the first. WVU opened the game with a 20-6 lead, but looked lost on offense as it only scored four points in the final 8:11 of the first half.

Despite limiting Missouri to 21 percent from the field, the Mountaineers only led 24-23 at the break.

“Huggins told us, ‘Who is this team in the locker room?'” Osabuohien said. “Because it wasn’t the team he was used to seeing. He came at us hard, which we knew to expect.”

West Virginia needed only 8:36 to exceed its entire first-half scoring total.

“They turned the heat up,” Martin said. “They went to both of their bigs. Whether their bigs scored or not, they had a great presence. They did a great job attacking downhill and putting pressure on our defense.”

By the numbers

West Virginia once again cut into its season-long turnover bugaboo, committing 11 against the Tigers. The Mountaineers had eight turnovers against Texas, and the back-to-back total of 19 is the lowest of the season for WVU… West Virginia was only 16 of 28 (57.1 percent) from the free-throw line, with Derek Culver’s 0-for-6 performance standing out for the wrong reasons… Missouri shot 28.3 percent from the field (15 of 53)… West Virginia dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Tigers by a 50-30 margin… With the win, West Virginia is now 2-5 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Next up

West Virginia returns to Big 12 play with a trip to Texas Tech on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The Mountaineers beat the Red Raiders in Morgantown, 65-54, on Jan. 11.

Bob Huggins postgame press conference

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I-79 north closed near Weston due to road damage

WESTON, W.Va. — Officials with the state Division of Highways closed Interstate 79 northbound at Weston Saturday morning “due to significant damage to the interstate.“

The DOH announcement said:

“Both lanes of I-79 North in this area are expected to remain closed for several hours today as crews work around the clock to make repairs.”

The detour for motorists is South Weston, exit 96. From there it’s U.S. 19 north to Jane Lew where motorists can get back on I-79 at exit 105.

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Dan Stratford introduced as WVU’s 10th men’s soccer head coach

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU alumnus Dan Stratford was officially welcomed back to Morgantown Saturday morning as he was introduced as WVU’s new men’s soccer head coach.

“Throughout the search one name kept coming to the top, and that was Dan Stratford,” said WVU Director of Athletics Shane Lyons. “We looked at people from two and three thousand miles away and the guy closest to home had the ability to do just that — to come home to West Virginia University.”

Stratford compiled a 61-4-5 record in three seasons as the head coach at the University of Charleston, winning NCAA Division II national championships in 2017 and 2019. The London, England native enjoyed a brief professional playing career, including a season at D.C. United in 2008. But Stratford knew at a young age that coaching would be his best avenue for continued success in the game of soccer.

“My career as a younger player had some ups and downs and I figured at the age of fifteen or sixteen that I would be better as a coach than a player,” Stratford said. “The biggest influence was my father. He coached me throughout my entire youth career.”

Stratford is the second consecutive head coach from the University of Charleston to transition to the Division I level. Chris Grassie led Marshall to the NCAA Sweet 16 this season.

“Chris was a visionary for what the model needed to look like at UC,” Stratford said. “It was good for me to leave the nest, to leave WVU and grow. I played for Marlon (LeBlanc), I coached with Marlon and obviously have a lot of gratitude for what he has done for me over the years as well.”

Stratford led WVU to 54 victories in his four years as a player. He was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams.

“The connection I have and the affinity I have for this place, my core values, my philosophy, the environment I want to create it all stems from my time here as a player.”

West Virginia is coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. The Mountaineers defeated Butler in the opening round this season, before falling to Marshall in the Round of 32.

“The program collectively, this isn’t broken and needing to be fixed. The first month for me will be learning as much as I can, gathering info about the players and learning what the needs are of the program.”

Stratford’s roster at UC was heavily influenced by international players.

“It is a global market. At UC we had 27 different countries represent the program last season. Whether they are domestic or international, it is about taking that diverse market and making it an inclusive as possible.”

Stratford’s staff is complete with the naming of assistant coaches Andy Wright and Nick Noble. Both are former WVU teammates.

“I played with Andy for four years and I played with Nick for three. That bond and that collective team spirit that we had, that’s why the philosophy is what it is. I want the players to take ownership of this program and I want them to feel like this is theirs. We are here to supplement that but this belongs to them.”

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Listen: H.S. Basketball Roundup (Jan. 25, 2020)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Listen to the third edition of ‘High School Basketball Roundup’, which airs every Saturday at 8:30am across the MetroNews Radio Network.

Braxton County, Cabell Midland and Martinsburg teams are featured and Fred Persinger discusses the third edition of the MetroNews Power Index.

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