PARKERSBURG - The field is set and the pairings have been announced.
Now, it is time to play the games.
The head coaches, as well as athletic directors, of the 24 remaining boys' basketball teams met at the WVSSAC office on W.Va. 47 on Sunday to finalize plans for this week's 99th annual W.Va. State Boys Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
The tournament field will include a Parkersburg High squad, coached by formerParkersburg Catholic head coach Jeff Mennillo, that will be making its first trip to the state's "Big Dance" since the 2001 season.
"I feel like I have been on exile," Mennillo explained. "It's been a while since I've attended this meeting."
The Big Reds (19-6) will be one of four teams in the Class AAA field from the Mountain State Athletic Conference and will take on fellow MSAC member South Charleston in one of the four first round contests at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday.
W.Va. boys tournament glance
By The Associated Press
Pairings for next week's boys high school basketball tournament at the Charleston Civic Center:
No. 1 Martinsburg vs. No. 8 Logan, 7:15 p.m.
No. 2 Wheeling Park vs. No. 7 Hedgesville, 11:15 a.m.
No. 4 Fairmont Senior vs. No. 5 George Washington, 11:15 a.m.
No. 3 South Charleston vs. No. 6 Parkersburg, 7:15 p.m.
Martinsburg-Logan winner vs. Fairmont Senior-George Washington winner, 5:30 p.m.
Wheeling Park-Hedgesville winner vs. South Charleston-Parkersburg winner, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 17
Semifinal winners, 7:15 p.m.
No. 3 Wyoming East vs. No. 6 Point Pleasant, 9:30 a.m.
No. 2 Tug Valley vs. No. 7 Webster County, 1 p.m.
No. 1 Bluefield vs. No. 8 Berkeley Springs, 1 p.m.
No. 4 Tolsia vs. No. 5 Magnolia, 9 p.m.
Wyoming East-Point Pleasant winner vs. Tug Valley-Webster County winner, 9:30 a.m.
Bluefield-Berkeley Springs winner vs. Tolsia-Magnolia winner, 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 17
Semifinal winners, noon
No. 3 Madonna vs. No. 3 Trinity, 9:30 a.m.
No. 2 Charleston Catholic vs. No. 7 Man, 1 p.m.
No. 1 St. Marys vs. No. 8 Pocahontas County, 5:30 p.m.
No. 4 Midland Trial vs. No. 5 Tucker County, 9 p.m.
Madonna-Trinity winner vs. Charleston Catholic-Man winner, 11:15 a.m.
St. Marys-Pocahontas County winner vs. Midland Trail-Tucker County winner, 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, March 17
Semifinal winners, 2:30 p.m.
"We like our draw," said Mennillo. "We are playing the 7:15 p.m. game, which is very close to our normal starting time of 7:30, and we are facing an opponent that we are familiar with."
Action gets under way in the four-day event at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday with No. 3 seed Wyoming East (19-5) taking on No. 6 Point Pleasant (16-9) in Class AA. That game is followed by the first Class AAA contest featuring No. 2 Wheeling Park (20-5) and No. 7 Hedgesville (20-6).
The tournament's opening session ends with a 1 p.m. showdown between Class AA No. 2 Tug Valley (23-2) and No. 7 Webster County (22-3).
Class AA continues to take center stage on day one with No. 1 Bluefield (24-1) opening the evening session at 5:30 p.m. against No. 8 Berkeley Springs (14-11) and No. 4 Tolsia (18-7) facing a No. 5 Magnolia (20-4) squad that has had its fair share of adversity this season in the final game of the day at 9 p.m.
"It has been a very tough season," explained veteran Blue Eagles head coach Dave Tallman. "We didn't have Stephen (Rogalski) for the first 10 games of the season because of an injury and we will go into Wednesday's game with Jayson (Keller) and Zach (Willhoite) being questionable because of injuries."
Sandwiched in between will be the second Class AAA game of the tournament - a 7:15 p.m. encounter between No. 1 Martinsburg (22-2) and No. 8 Logan (17-8).
Class A dominates Thursday's day two action with No. 3 Madonna, the classification's defending state champion, (22-3) taking on the team it beat for the title 12 months ago, Trinity (17-7), at 9:30 a.m. with No. 2 Charleston Catholic (21-3) looking to reach "Semifinal Friday" when the Irish face No. 7 Man (14-11) in a rematch of sectional foes at 1 p.m.
In between those two games will be the third of four Class AAA first round games as No. 4 Fairmont Senior (21-4) looks to eliminate No. 5 George Washington (19-6).
Thursday's final session opens with No. 1 St. Marys (23-1) facing off against No. 8 Pocahontas County (14-11).
"We feel like our schedule has prepared us for what we will face this week in Charleston," explained the Blue Devils' head coach Mark Barnhart. "Our key this week will be to keep our kids focused on what they have to do to advance in the tournament."
The opening rounds concludes on Thursday with No. 3 South Charleston (21-4) taking on the No. 6 Big Reds (19-6) at 7:15 p.m. in the final Class AAA contest while No. 4 Midland Trail (21-4) and No. 5 Tucker County (19-6) play the final Class A quarterfinal game at 9 p.m.
Semifinal action begins at 9:30 a.m. on Friday with Saturday's trio of championship games slated for noon for Class AA, 2:30 p.m. for Class A and 7:15 p.m. for Class AAA.