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Greetings From The Booth!
With so much happening this week in sports, locally and regionally, I thought I would try to cover all the bases with some Friday tidbits, so here goes:
First, CONGRATS to the Rappahannock High Girls Basketball team, who captured the VHSL Class 1 State Championship this week with a win over Eastside at the Siegel Center at VCU. Winning a state title is a huge accomplishment, so thanks ladies, for bringing the hardware back to the Shenandoah Valley! Tomorrow (Saturday 3-11) the Clarke County Girls will try to duplicate that feat as they take on perennial power Central-Wise in the Class 2 Championship Game.
Meanwhile, the Skyline HS Boys team saw it’s season end at the hands of Hopewell (again) in the Class 3 semifinals on Monday. With the loss, the Hawks suffered their first loss of the season and finished at 26-1. If you’ve never played sports, it’s hard to convey the feeling of emptiness when you get so close to a championship and an undefeated season, only to see it end just 2 wins from the finish line. When the sting of that lone loss wears off, Skyline will look back with pride at a season that will live forever in the school’s annals. The Hawks were a gritty, scrappy bunch, and should have no doubt about being “legit.” They were. Sometimes, you just run up against a better team…
Which makes a nice segue into a pet peeve of mine: bad fan behavior. The optics were not good following Skyline’s loss to Hopewell, as law enforcement had to keep members of both fan bases apart. I’m not going to weigh in on who started what. That’s usually a “we said-they said” kind of thing. But, we live in a trash talking, phone wielding culture, with little emphasis on sportsmanship, and that reared it’s ugly head after Monday’s game. Nothing major erupted, thank goodness, but it was not a good luck. Win with class, lose with class, and always remember that kids take their cues from adults.
This is the time of year that I start paying attention to college basketball. The conference tournaments are fun to watch, although with multiple teams from the power leagues getting into the NCAA Tournament, those affairs don’t have the urgency that they had back in the day. I love Selection Sunday, when teams anxiously await their fate. This year, my WVU Mounties look to be safely in, despite a loss to Kansas in the Big 12 Tournament. But, until your team is announced, there is always some anxiety.
Finally, let’s switch gears and talk some football. Folks, I may just be getting on the bandwagon of your DC Defenders of the XFL. The Defenders play their home games at Audi Field, near Nationals Park. It’s a nice Euro-feeling venue, and apparently home of one of the most enjoyable fan experiences in sports. The fans are enthusiastic, sometimes raucous, and love their team (which is currently 3-0). The now-legendary beer cup snake is back, not to mention the anti-Dan Snyder chants. All this in sharp contrast to the dismal game-day experience at Fed-Ex Field with the Washington Commanders. Which points out one thing: DC fans will turn out for winning, fun football.
Those are your Friday Tidbits from The Booth! Have a great “Selection Sunday!”
SU Recap, NCAA Tourney Field Set, Caps-Sabres Tonight
On the Shenandoah University sports scene yesterday, Men’s Soccer battled Eastern Mennonite to a scoreless tie, number-3 Virginia Wesleyan swept Softball 13-4 and 10-3, And, Men’s Golf finished 14th at the Tiger Invite hosted by Hampden-Sydney. Over the weekend, nationally-ranked Baseball took 2 from Guilford, and Track & Field posted 4 wins at Salisbury. Today, Women’s Golf and Women’s Tennis are in action.
The NCAA men’s Basketball Tournament field was set yesterday on Selection Sunday. The top 4 seeds are Gonzaga, Baylor, Illinois, and Michigan. Virginia tech earned a 10-seed and will take on 7-seed Florida on Friday, while Virginia is a 4-seed and will play 13-seed Ohio on Saturday. WVU, a 3-seed, will play it’s opening round game against 14th-seed Morehead State on Friday.
Other regional teams getting into the tournament field are VCU, Liberty, and Norfolk State, who will play one of the so-called First Four games on Thursday. Because of coronavirus concerns, all of the games in this year’s tournament will be played in Indiana.
And, the Washington Capitals are back on the ice tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Air time is 6:45 on The River 95-3.