By Steve Keenan
A series of games in basketball gyms around the state have advanced the participants to a full slate of action in one locale this weekend in the fourth annual boys West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament.
Games involving 22 Class A public school teams will be played Friday and Saturday at the Summersville Arena and Conference Center.
In the Division 2 championship game Friday night, Meadow Bridge will square off against Paden City at 8 p.m. The Division 1 title contest Saturday evening will pit Clay-Battelle against Class A No. 6 Valley.
“I think the tournament is definitely doing what we’d hoped it would do,” said WVHIT president Greg Crist. “Each year we’ve had it we’ve drawn a little more attention.
“I don’t think it’s stagnated. Everybody’s still gung-ho about it. Everybody who participates has a good time. We just want them to get in there and let ‘em have fun and hopefully get some attention.”
Crist said he would like to see attendance improve, among other things, and he wants to continue to reach out to the local Summersville community for more participation.
The event, which also includes a separate girls division, is presented once again by chief sponsor Southern West Virginia Health Systems.
Crist said he’d also like to see more sponsorship help to allow tournament organizers to make the event even better.
He said future tournament dates may be tweaked to create some scheduling cushion in the face of poor weather such as the state has encountered this winter.
At least some of this Saturday’s action will be aired by Local Community TV, according to Crist. “I’m pretty excited they’re going to be doing our tournament,” he said.
Colton Pack, the Danese resident who earned acclaim on X Factor USA, will sing the National Anthem prior to Saturday’s championship game, and local dance teams will provide entertainment, Crist said.
Admission is $5.
Following are complete pairings:
Friday, Feb. 14
-- 5 p.m. — Fifth-place game, Hundred vs. Montcalm
-- 6:30 p.m. — Third-place game, Hannan vs. Union
-- 8 p.m. — Championship game, Paden City vs. Meadow Bridge
Saturday, Feb. 15
-- 9 a.m. — Fifteenth-place game, Valley-Wetzel vs. East Hardy
-- 10:30 a.m. — Thirteenth-place game, Tygarts Valley vs. Doddridge County
-- 12 p.m. — Eleventh-place game, Fayetteville vs. Pocahontas County
-- 1:30 p.m. — Ninth-place game, Richwood vs. Van
-- 3 p.m. — Seventh-place game, Midland Trail vs. Sherman
-- 4:30 p.m. — Fifth-place game, Cameron vs. St. Marys
-- 6 p.m. — Third-place game, Buffalo vs. Greenbrier West
-- 7:30 p.m. — Championship game, Clay-Battelle vs. Valley.
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In a WVHIT game last weekend, the Midland Trail Patriots went on the road and dropped a 54-45 verdict to Cameron.
For the Patriots (7-8), Collin Carte netted a team-high 14 points. Rickie Carter contributed 10 points and 14 rebounds. Other scorers included: Steven Blume, 3; Cyrus Jackson, 5; Gus Ellison, 7; and Jared Stover, 6.
Blume also had five rebounds and five steals, and Jackson had three steals.