CHARLESTON - Tucker County and Philip Barbour fell short of winning a state championship in Class A and Class AA, respectively, but both area teams earned respect at the state tourney in Charleston.
The Mountain Lions, despite losing four starters from last season, advanced to the semifinals before falling to Trinity.
"I give our kids all the credit," said Tucker County coach Tom Gutshall. "They worked very hard this season to make the state tournament and we were able to finally beat Wheeling Central (in the quarterfinals)."
Tucker County’s Logan Snyder prepares to play defense against Trinity in Class A semifinal action Friday at the Charleston?Civic?Center. Snyder was named to the all-tournament team. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Joey Kittle)
Philip Barbour’s Isaiah Simon goes to the basket against Oak Hill in Class AA state tourney action. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Joey Kittle)
Logan Snyder, who was named to the Class A all-tournament team, finished his stellar career in Charleston and earned praise from Trinity coach Herman Pierson, whose team defeated the Mountain Lions in the semifinals.
"Logan Snyder is the best player we've faced," said Pierson. "He's not only a great player, but a fine young man off the court."
"I'm biased toward Logan," he said. "But I think he was the best player in the entire state in Class A."
The Mountain Lions must replace Snyder, along with fellow senior Devin Smith. Three other starters return, including Tyler Snyder, Logan's younger brother.
The Colts, meanwhile, didn't play like an eighth seed in their matchup against eventual champion Oak Hill in the quarterfinals.
Led by the effort of 6-foot-4 senior Isaiah Simon, Philip Barbour played on even terms with the Red Devils for nearly three quarters before foul trouble and fatigue set in and Oak Hill pulled away for a 53-26 win.
"We had a chip on our shoulder coming down here," Simon said. "We wanted to prove, that despite being from a small town, we could play against the state's top teams.
"I think showed some people in Charleston we can play."
Kalif Wright, Oak Hill's all-stater and Division I product, was impressed by the Colts.
"They were not an eighth seed," he said. "They had a good basketball team, and we were happy to get past them."
Philip Barbour's faces a rebuilding effort next season as all five starters depart, along with key reserve Trevor Mouser.
Andy Green, who had a good showing in the state tournament, will be back, along with Zack Summerfield, J.W. Hawkins and 6-foot-6 sophomore Antonio Dalton.
Simon indicated most of Philip Barbour's seniors will play sports at the college level. Simon is being recruited by several WVIAC schools, including Alderson-Broaddus.