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Chapmanville starts fast, holds off Poca, 45-40

Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

Poca’s Noah Rittinger releases a floater Friday against Chapmanville.

 

POCA, W.Va. — Slow starts have been a cause for concern through the first half of the season for Chapmanville head coach Brad Napier.

After the Tigers had their 54-game in-state win streak snapped Tuesday with a loss at Logan, they were anxious to take the court for Friday’s meeting with Poca.

It certainly showed as Chapmanville scored 17 of the game’s first 20 points, then held off multiple rallies from the Dots for a 45-40 win in a Class AA showdown.

“This is a tough place to come in and win,” Napier said. “They have a great team and they’re coached really well. Our kids were gutty tonight. Our defense is what won the game.”

Six-foot-9 senior Obinna Anochili-Killen helped set the tone early with six straight points, including a transition dunk, to give the Tigers an early 11-3 lead. Phillip Mullins and Isaiah Smith followed with 3-pointers to up the Chapmanville (10-2) lead to 17-3, before Poca’s Isaac McKneely made his second of six triples to cut the Dots’ deficit to 11 after one quarter.

“We’ve been an extremely slow starting team all year and we were ready to go when the ball went up tonight,” Napier said. “You could see it by the way we started.” 

By the 5:44 mark of the second quarter, however, Poca (9-2) was to within two points and had already scored 11 in the frame, including eight from guard Noah Rittinger.

Anochili-Killen accounted for the Tigers’ next five points, before McKneely stuck a triple to send Poca into halftime with just a 24-22 deficit.

McKneely and Rittinger combined for all but two of the Dots’ points in the opening half.

But Poca went cold again in the third quarter, missing all nine of its field goal attempts and being held scoreless for the period.

Anochili-Killen, meanwhile scored the first seven points of the third, including a top of the key 3 at the 5:08 mark. Andrew Shull’s jump shot capped the scoring for the quarter and sent Chapmanville into the fourth with a 33-22 lead.

“Obinna makes them really good defensively,” Poca head coach Allen Osborne said. “You can beat them off the dribble and he’s there to block shots. He’s really good. He’s as good of a high school defender around the bucket as I’ve seen in my coaching career.”

Yet Poca started the fourth quarter much like it did the second, and when Rittinger connected from behind the arc with 4:40 remaining, the Dots trailed 33-30.

Anochili-Killen answered yet again with a basket in the post followed by two free throws, though McKneely’s triple and a Nate Vance layup enabled Poca to get to within 37-35.

But without an answer for Anochili-Killen, the Douts couldn’t get over the hump. He scored inside down the stretch to double his team’s lead, and Shull made a short jumper with 1:30 remaining to up the advantage to six.

Chapmanville led by at least four the rest of the way in a game it never trailed in following an early 3-2 deficit.

“Our defense was phenomenal the whole game. McKneely made some incrediby difficult shots, especially in the fourth quarter,” Napier said. “When he’s coming off a screen running full speed, catches it and we have a 6-3 guard right in his face, he’s falling backwards and still hitting shots. Those are shots that NBA players make. We did about as good as we could do.”

Anochili-Killen, a Marshall signee, was impressive in front of his future Thundering Herd coaching staff. He finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds and made nine of his team’s 16 field goals. Shull added 10 points in the win.

“Obinna had it going and was really feeling it tonight,” Napier said. “We really looked for him and our ball movement was really good.”

McKneely had a team-high 20 points for Poca, while Rittinger registered 11 points and eight assists in the loss.

Thirty of Poca’s 40 points came on 3-pointers and the Dots did not score at the free throw line as their eight-game win streak was snapped.

“We had a chance going down the stretch and that’s all you can ask against the No. 1 team in the state,” Osborne said. “I’m proud of our kids and the effort, but we’ll work and try to get better.”

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Shady Spring erases 11-point second half deficit, stays perfect with 73-70 win over Bluefield

SHADY SPRING, W.Va. — In a game that featured six lead changes in the final three minutes, Shady Spring rallied from an 11-point third quarter deficit to defeat Bluefield 73-70 in front of a capacity crowd.

The Tigers trailed 37-26 in the opening minute of the third quarter but they slowly chipped away at the deficit before finally taking their first lead with 3:30 to play.

“They just play and they all believe,” said Shady Spring head coach Ronnie Olsen. “They don’t care who they are playing, what they are down, what the situation is, they just keep playing and grinding it out.”

Freshmen Cole and Braden Chapman combined to score 35 of Shady’s 73 points. Braden led all scorers with 22 while Cole chipped in with 13.

“They aren’t freshmen. I knew it the day they walked in the gym last year as soon as they started working out with us. They are unflappable and I am proud of them.”

Senior Tommy Williams added 18 points for the Tigers while Luke LeRose scored 13. LeRose put Shady Spring ahead for good with eleven seconds left by draining a pair of free throws, giving the Tigers a 71-70 lead.

The Tigers went 20-7 last season but were defeated by Bluefield three times.

“Our kids took that into the offseason. They wore it as a chip on their shoulders. Is it going to reflect into the postseason? Maybe not. But hopefully it does and I just love the grit and mentality of our kids.”

Four Beavers (7-3) scored in double figures. Sean Martin led Bluefield with 19 points. Braeden Crews added 16, Kaulin Parris scored 13 and Tyrese Hairston chipped in with a dozen. Bluefield will host Shady Spring on February 7th.

Shady Spring entered the week as the top-ranked team among Class AA schools in the MetroNews Power Index. In their 10-0 start, they have defeated 2019 state semifinalists Robert C. Byrd and Bluefield as well as Class AAA heavyweights Capital, George Washington, South Charleston and Woodrow Wilson.

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Capito files paperwork for re-election bid

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — U.S. Sen Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is officially running for a second term.

Capito submitted the necessary paperwork to be a candidate on the May primary ballot on Friday. Family members and supporters joined her at the Secretary fo State’s Office in Charleston.

In a statement afterward, she spoke of her accomplishments as senator.

“Federal funding to treat those suffering from opioid addiction has more than doubled,” she said. “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has delivered real saving for West Virginia families and helped turn our economy around. These tax cuts, along with President Trump’s efforts to roll back burdensome regulation, have helped make West Virginia’s economy one of, if not the best, in the nation.

“Capito Connect was launched with the goal of connecting every corner of our state with high-speed broadband. With it, $15 million in new funding has come to West Virginia to spur economic growth, improve education and inspire entrepreneurship. Nearly $170 million in new transportation grants have been secured to rebuild our roadways and improve safety.”

Democrats Richard Ojeda and Paula Jean Swearengin filed to run earlier this week. Conservative activist Allen Whitt, who announced his campaign in October, has yet to file.

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Cheatham: New PEIA Rainy Day Fund will be used in next budget year

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the House of Delegates Finance Committee were reminded again Friday that $105 million in a year-old rainy day fund for health insurance costs for state workers could be depleted by budget year 2022 unless more money is allocated to the fund.

Ted Cheatham

State Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) Executive Director Ted Cheatham was before the committee for a budget presentation. He explained the different accounts the agency is using to handle growing health care costs while at the same time not increasing premiums.

Cheatham said the PEIA Reserve Fund has a balance of $120 million. He said there are no plans to touch that in order to keep the required percentage of back-up funds. He said the agency’s Premium Stabilization Reserve Fund, made up of money saved in operations and earned in investments has a balance of close to $60 million and then there’s the new PEIA Rainy Day Fund established by Gov. Jim Justice and lawmakers last year to satisfy teachers and other state workers concerned about premium increases.

Cheatham said Friday the plan is to spent most all of the Premium Stabilization Reserve Fund in next year’s budget and about a third of the rainy day fund.

“We think we may need $34 million additional out of the rainy day fund for PEIA,” Cheatham said.

Cheatham said the rainy day fund money will not come as an 80/20 match. That means state workers will not have to pay more for health insurance.

Costs go up for PEIA between $50 million and $80 million so if there’s going to be no premium increase, the money has to be found somewhere. Cheatham said what’s left in the PEIA Rainy Day Fund after next budget year should be able to cover the increasing costs in the budget for fiscal year 2022.

“The way we’re forecasted in our budget, for 2022, we’re looking to need another $78 million from the PEIA Rainy Day Fund,” Cheatham said Friday.

He also told lawmakers the numbers need from the rainy day fund could go down if the state has another good claims year. The level of the annual health care cost increase has been showing a decline in recent years because there are fewer state workers.

According to the law setting up the rainy day fund, the governor would have to authorize money from the fund to be transferred to PEIA.

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Something for every gearhead at 2020 West Virginia Auto Show

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Automobile lovers from all over West Virginia and beyond began to crowd the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center on Friday morning.

It was the beginning of the weekend-long 2020 West Virginia International Auto Show featuring hundreds of brand new cars, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, luxury rides and more all under one roof.

Jared Wyrick, President of West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, told MetroNews on Friday that he expects hundreds of guests throughout the weekend. He said that all of them tend to enjoy the non-selling environment of checking out the freshest models.

“You get to look at all the different brands in a relaxed environment,” Wyrick said.

Jared Wyrick

“You don’t have to drive from dealership to dealership to look at the different manufacturers. They are all under one roof, if they are in the state of West Virginia they are here.”

The new models that Wyrick expects to turn heads on the show floor include the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby, 2020 Jeep Gladiator, 2020 Toyota Supra, 2020 Ram 2500, 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Toyota Highlander.

There are also the newest luxury models in Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo.

The long-standing show also has new features and events going on including a Motorcycle and Powersports Pavilion with motorcycles, side by sides and more.

VIEW: 2020 show floor plan

On Friday night, there is a Friday Night Flights and Lights event from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. where guests can check out beer from five local breweries and eat food while checking out the showroom. Two former NFL players in Will Johnson and Arthur Moats will also be at the show on Friday night for pictures and autographs.

Saturday is highlighted by a Jeep overhaul event in the coliseum side of the show, called “The Garage.”

“We are taking a stock Jeep, lifting it right in front of everybody,” Wyrick said. “We’re going to take the tires off, put on a lift kit, wrap it, tint the windows and turn it into an off-road machine. That’s on Saturday, they are going to do that all day in the Coliseum.”

Dog lovers will also enjoy this year’s car show with the Subaru Pet Adoption Event. Next to Subaru exhibits, there is an opportunity to adopt dogs from local rescue organizations. Guests are welcome to hang out and play with the dogs, as well as get free custom pet tags.

The show is open until 9 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Tickets for adults 13 and over cost $12 while senior citizens, 62 and over, and military cost $8 to get in. Children, 7 to 12 years old, cost $7, and children six years and younger are free.

Sunday is Family Day at the event, where any child 12 years and younger are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

The West Virginia Auto Show is presented by the West Virginia Automobile Dealers Association and produced by Motor Trend Auto Shows.

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Big 12 Power Index: Baylor catapults itself to the top of loaded league

The Big 12 may be the only conference in America where you can expect football games and basketball games to result in the same scores.

For all its offensive prowess in football, the opposite is true of Big 12 basketball. According to kenpom.com, the league ranks 31st out of 32 nationally in offensive tempo, 32nd in offensive efficiency and 32nd in effective field goal percentage.

The first 20 games on the Big 12 slate haven’t been particularly interesting, either. In the very early stages of conference play, the SWAC and Ivy League the the only two conferences with fewer games decided by five points or less — and there have only been two Ivy games played thus far.

It’s too early in league play to call any of these items “trends,” but it will be interesting to see if they continue throughout the bulk of the schedule.

Now that you’ve been hooked in by this scintillating data, allow us to formally introduce you to the first-ever MetroNews Big 12 Power Index. We’ll be updating it every Friday until the conference tournament, partially as a service to keep WVU fans abreast of what’s going on in the league as a whole.

1. Baylor (14-1, 4-0)

The NCAA’s NET rankings have the Bears as the top team in the country, and anyone who disputes that at this point looks rather foolish — including AP voters who have them ranked second behind Gonzaga.

The last unbeaten in Big 12 play has beaten Kansas on the road on top of high-quality wins over Butler, Arizona and Villanova. Baylor is also more balanced than the Zags, rating 27th in offensive efficiency and fourth in defensive efficiency. Gonzaga is first in offensive efficiency but 44th on defense.

2. Kansas (13-3, 3-1)

The Jayhawks are No. 2 in the NET, buoyed by a strength of schedule that’s tops in the nation.

Kansas has a formula that few teams can match with an elite point guard (Devon Dotson) and an elite big man (Udoka Azubuike). However, the Jayhawks are also not particularly deep. This will catch up to them at some point, with their Feb. 12 trip to Morgantown potentially being one of those instances.

3. West Virginia (14-2, 3-1)

According to KenPom, the Mountaineers are one of three Big 12 teams in the Top 4 nationally. There’s no way three Big 12 teams will end up grabbing No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, but it’s starting to look like two is a reasonable possibility — and West Virginia is firmly in that mix.

The Mountaineers lead the nation in defensive efficiency, and showed some signs of offensive progress in an 81-49 win over TCU.

At this point, everyone knows what West Virginia needs to improve on — passing, three-point shooting and free-throw shooting. If even one of those areas gets up to par by March, this team could do something special.

4. Texas Tech (11-5, 2-2)

The Red Raiders have had the misfortune of running into Baylor and West Virginia early on their league schedule, but right now they are the clear-cut No. 4 team in the league. Do not be surprised if this group is able to trip up Kansas or WVU in Lubbock.

5. Oklahoma (11-5, 2-2)

The Sooners are trending downwards after back-to-back losses to Iowa State and Kansas. With a trip to Baylor looming next week, Saturday’s game against TCU should come with a sense of urgency.

6. TCU (12-4, 3-1)

The Horned Frogs were badly exposed in their loss to the Mountaineers. If this team isn’t clicking from outside — which it frequently is — it’s going to struggle.

7. Texas (12-4, 2-2)

It’s getting to the point where it feels like it ain’t really happening for Shaka Smart at Texas. Five years in, he’s only led the Longhorns to two NCAA tournament appearances, and this year is no guarantee.

The Horns have rebounded from an 0-2 start in Big 12 play, but upcoming games with Kansas and West Virginia will put their winning streak to the test.

8. Iowa State (8-8, 1-3)

Ranking fifth in the country with 8.9 assists per game, Cyclones point guard Tyrese Haliburton is a compelling watch. Iowa State is hapless when he’s not on the floor, which explains why he’s also averaging 39 minutes per game in league play.

9. Kansas State (7-9, 0-4)

At the moment, the Wildcats are the lone sub-.500 team in the Big 12. That’s a credit to Bruce Weber not loading his non-conference schedule with cupcakes, though perhaps K-State could have used a few more after losing Dean Wade and Barry Brown to graduation.

This team will be tougher than its current record, which is something the Mountaineers need to be aware of when visiting Manhattan on Saturday.

10. Oklahoma State (9-7, 0-4)

I’ve covered two absolutely miserable teams — last year’s Mountaineers and the 2016-17 LSU Tigers — and these Cowboys have a similar look.

As bad as the aforementioned teams were — 4-14 and 2-16 in conference play, respectively — at least they both had building-block players that inspired hopes of a quick turnaround.

That player doesn’t appear to exist for Oklahoma State, which is a straight-up dismal basketball team to watch. The Cowboys have been held to 50 points or less in three of their four Big 12 games.

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Names of victims released in Jefferson County double fatal

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. –Two people died in a head-on vehicle crash in Jefferson County Thursday night.

Authorities said the wreck occurred at about 7:20 p.m. on Middleway Pike near Charles Town close to the Tuscawilla Hills subdivision.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department identified the victims Friday afternoon as Hunter Muse, 17, of Ranson and Alisha Rae Shamburg, 30. They both died at the scene of the crash.

Authorities said Muse was a passenger in an SUV being driven by Dylan Mills, 18, of Kearneysville. Mills is being treated in a Falls Church, Virginia hospital.

Mills’ SUV collided with a truck being driven by Shamburg.

A Jefferson County Schools spokesperson confirmed Muse was a student at Jefferson High School.

“This is an unimaginable loss for all of us,” JHS Principal Sherry Fitzgerald said. “We are pulling together as a school and community, and sending love and support to everyone who is affected.”

Grief counselors and other resources are available for students and staff of Jefferson High School.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crash.

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Capitol dome project nears halfway mark

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There was a brief round of applause Friday morning in the House of Delegates Finance Committee when state Division of General Services Director Greg Melton told lawmakers the work on the capitol dome was about 50 percent completed.

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Greg Melton

“We are about halfway there,” Melton said. “We awarded (the bid) in October of 2018 and we are scheduled to wrap up in spring 2021.”

The dome work started in January 2018 under the original contractor, Wiseman Construction, after the discovery of structural issues largely due to water damage. Pullman Power took over in October 2018.

State officials said pipes designed to collect water from the outer dome had deteriorated which caused damage to the interior of the Capitol Rotunda in visible and not visible ways creating safety hazards.

Additionally, officials determined a cabling system which allowed the outer dome to hold up the inner dome with tension had weakened and needed replaced.

The outside of the dome is covered with a white material to protect the workers and exposed areas of the building.

MORE See more dome photos here

Crews late last year finished putting back into place 23-hundred pound limestone blocks after they were removed and cleaned.

“We have ended the tearing out phase and we have started and are well along in some parts, the put-it-back phase,” Melton said Friday.

The project has a great impact on the legislative session because it cuts off the direct path in the Upper Rotunda between the House of Delegates and state Senate. Those in the capitol have to go up or down to different levels to travel between the two chambers.

Melton said the dome project has been the most interesting and challenging project he’s been associated with in his construction career.

“We opened up some parts of the building that haven’t been seen since 1932,” Melton told lawmakers Friday.

The project, which is projected to cost around $14.5 million will likely impact the January 2021 gubernatorial inauguration. Plans are currently to conduct the inauguration on the north side of the capitol.

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Photo gallery: Logan defeats Chapmanville, 72-61

LOGAN, W.Va. — Photos from Logan’s 72-61 win over Chapmanville at Willie Akers Arena. The Wildcats handed the Tigers their first loss against an in-state opponent in 54 games.

(Photos courtesy of Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography)

 

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A blast of winter–in January

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Typically cold temperatures and a mix of freezing rain and snow wouldn’t necessarily be a news item in the middle of January in West Virginia. However, the winter of 2020 is proving to be one where the winter conditions are in short bursts.

Truly the season has felt much more spring-like than winter-like. That’s likely to change this weekend  with a system moving into West Virginia.

“It’s been a slow start to winter this year, but we’ve got a strong cold frontal system that’s going to affect the whole state at some point this weekend,” said Meteorologist Dave Marsalek of the Charleston Weather Bureau.

The front will arrive as a wintry mix Friday night and stretch into Saturday. The backside of the front headed into Saturday evening will likely mean accumulating snow for the West Virginia northern mountain areas, but the western lowlands will see mostly rain from the system.

“There’s a brief period of ice possible in the early morning hours of Saturday, but there’s some snow on the backside of the front, but we’re not looking for much in the way of accumulation in the western lowlands,” Marsalek said.

The precipitation should end by Saturday evening, but cold weather will persist through Sunday and Monday, but by Wednesday, Marsalek said another increase in temperature is likely.

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