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Already well-established as a top team in the Eastern Panhandle, Jefferson’s girls basketball team has earned the top seed in the Class AAAA, Region II, Section 2 playoffs, and a first-round bye as well.

The Cougars all but clinched the top spot in the three-team field with a pair of decisive wins last week. On Tuesday, April 6, Jefferson defeated Spring Mills on the road, 60-48, swept the home-and-home series with county-rival Washington last Thursday, 45-27 at Shenandoah Junction.

Jefferson will host either Musselman or Washington for the sectional final at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Meanwhile, in the Section I playoffs, defending regional-champion Martinsburg will host either Hedgesville or Spring Mills  at 7 p.m. on Thursday in that sectional final.

Two players scored in double figures for Jefferson. Macie Chrisman Myers led the way with 17 points, Catrina Myers had 15. Heaven Murray had seven.

In last Thursday’s win over the Patriots, Mackenzie Brezovec led the Cougars with 11 points. Murray and Carr each had nine. Carr also helped anchor Jefferson’s defense against Washington with four steals.

Jefferson’s boys basketball team played just one game last week, dropping a 63-60 decision to host Musselman last Thursday.

Three players continue to lead the Cougars in scoring. Daion Taylor’s scoring average stands at 15.8, followed by Jaiden Gladney (12.4) and Will  Shively (11.6).

Cam Johnson and Shively are Jefferson’s two top rebounders. Johnson has a 5.5 rebounding average. Shively is right behind him at 5.4.

Taylor has a 2.5 assists average. Jayden Wilkie’s assists average is 2.0.

In a game played last Friday at Martinsburg, the Bulldogs defeated Washington, 81-55. The Patriots are 2-5 in the region.

State tournament gets a new look

What had been a four-day, 21-game event at Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center is now a five-day, 28 game affair.

The addition of a fourth classification, Class AAAA, has meant WVSSAC officials had to do some rearranging in order to have everything completed by May 8. April 27 through May 1 is the girls state tournament timeline. Following two open days, the boys state tourney starts May 4.

“We know there will be lots of new people at the tournament because now we have four classes instead of three,” WVSSAC executive director Bernie Dolan told MetroNews. “We think some of our small schools will really take advantage of being in the tournament and experiencing something new. So I would expect that part to really pick up and people will have a good time with it.”

COVID-19 continues to be an issue across the Mountain State. Dolan said. An increasing number of basketball teams across the state are on pause due to positive COVID cases or potential exposures from opponents.

Dolan said scheduling flexibility could be used in the early rounds of the playoffs (sectionals and regionals) if teams are coming back off of pauses. He also said if a team qualifies for the state tournament but is later unable to compete, due to COVID-19 protocols, it’s unlikely another team would be inserted to complete the eight-team field.

Consistency with other previously-completed sports seasons is a main reason WVSSAC officials won’t backfill the tournament field. Dolan is stressing schools coaches and athletes need to continue to stick to all health and safety protocols throughout the remainder of the school year.

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