CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The first two-plus days of the girls basketball state tournament are in the books, and we’ve already seen some pretty cool moments in this year’s tournament.
Wednesday was a big day for folks from Lewis County, as the Minutemaids girls basketball team appeared in the state tournament for just the sixth time in program history.
As you’ve seen and heard us mention over the last few days, this was this program’s first trip to Charleston since 2003, which was before any of the players on this team were born.
Head coach Kenton Bozic, who’s roster included seven seniors playing in their final high school basketball game, got each and every one of his players in the game at some point to get them that experience.
It was great to hear some of those seniors talk after the game about what playing in the tournament meant to them.
“Every year, ever since we were freshmen, I know the goal has always been here,” said Olivia Krinov. “The end goal has always been to states, and every year we strive and try our hardest to do it. So, for our senior year to be down here, is just like a happy ending for us. That’s everything we’ve wanted to do all four years of high school, and it being our senior year is truly, truly something special.”
Krinov led the way for Lewis County on Wednesday with eight points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks.
“Being down here is the ideal way to end your season. So, I’m just happy we could do that, and be in such a different and awesome environment to end our season,” said Shyanna James.
Emma Cayton, who led the way for the Minutemaids most of the season, put it simply: “It just makes all those Saturdays, you got up early and you went and (practiced), or you missed out on going here or you missed out on going there, it made it all worth it to be able to end it here. I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way.”
Unfortunately for Lewis County, it did end with a loss at the hands of top-seeded Fairmont Senior.
But for Lewis County, the experience and the memories of stepping on the court in Charleston are invaluable. And the excitement for next season is already palpable.
“We’ve already got eighth graders pumped, ready to come to high school because of what these girls have done,” he said. “And they’re bringing basketball back to Lewis County, and we’re changing the culture back there.”