Tug Valley had to drop to Class A this season once the new WVSSAC alignment figures were released. This means the Panthers will have new teams in their sectional and regional tournament play for basketball.
Meanwhile, Mingo Central will still be in Class 2A and have some familiar teams in their regional.
Tug Valley was placed in Section 1, Region III in Class A. They have Greater Beckley Christian, Man, Montcalm, Sherman and Van in their section.
The other teams in Section 2 of Tug Valley’s region are Fayetteville, Greenbrier West, Meadown Bridge, Midland Trail, Richwood and Valley of Fayette.
For the Mingo Central Miners they are in Section 2 of Region 4 in Class 2A. The teams in Section 2 are Chapmanville Regional, Scott, Tolsia, Wayne and Mingo.
In the other bracket, which is Section 1, there is Clay County, Herbert Hoover, Nicholas County, Poca and Sissonville.
Many of the teams in Mingo Central’s region are also in the Cardinal Conference, so the Miners will play several of those schools in the regular season.
Tug Valley has tried to schedule some of the teams in their region, but in order to play a tough schedule, they did not add some of those Class A squads.
The Panthers won the Class 2A state title last March under the guidance of Coach Garland “Rabbit” Thompson and hope to win back to back titles. However they won’t be able to defend their Double A crown. Even though Tug Valley had dropped down a class, the Single A competition is still tough.
Magnolia, one of the top Class 2A teams last year, also dropped down to the smaller class this season. They return several of their players.
It is common knowledge that many of the private schools such as Charleston Catholic, Wheeling Central Catholic, Madonna, St. Joe of Huntington and others play in Class A and they usually have some good basketball teams.
New Mingo Central head coach Brad Napier hopes to lead the Miners to their first-ever state tournament appearance. The Miners have started out being competitive this season, but they play in a tough region.
The new alignments for West Virginia and the new post season format have helped teams that may lose in their sectional final have one more chance in regional finals.
Even though it is January, March is right around the corner and tournament play will be here before fans realize.