MORGANTOWN — University coach Joe Schmidle wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance in a 65-51 win over Musselman on Wednesday, but in the state tournament, moving on is all that matters.
The No. 2 Hawks struggled for minor stretches in the second half against the Applemen, playing even in the final two quarters. Schmidle, though, it looking ahead, not behind.
“That’s behind us now; the big picture is we won,” he said. “That’s all that really matters, survive and advance. We had a bad three or four minutes. Other than that, I can’t really complain too much.”
Winning on Day 1 means UHS gets an extra day to prepare for its Class AAA semifinal matchup. The Hawks watched Morgantown go up against Capital before practicing at Charleston Catholic on Thursday.
After a team dinner at Oliver Garden in the evening, UHS will head back to the Charleston Coliseum at 7:15 p.m. to scout its semifinal opponent, whether its No. 3 George Washington or No. 6 Cabell Midland.The Patriots (20-5) feature one of the best players in the state in senior guard Bunky Brown. Averaging 26 points per game, he causes matchup issues across the board for any team.
“He’s one of the best players in the state and is very multidimensional,” Schmidle said. “He handles the ball, can take it to the hole and can shoot the 3. He’s a heck of an athlete. He’s a handful and will create a lot of problems for whoever they play.”
Schmidle is also concerned with Brown’s ability to get his teammates involved. If the defense keys in on him, it leaves others open, and G.W. has shooters on the perimeter.
Sophomore Mason Pinkett is averaging 15 points, while Gus Eddy can score from the outside.
“They have a bunch of kids that can shoot the ball, so if you help on Bunky, then you’re leaving someone else open,” Schmidle said. “It can creates some problems. I’m worried about him getting us into foul trouble.”
Cabell Midland takes a different approach than G.W. in how it plays. With no star power, the Knights (18-7) rely on team play and hustle. The scoring averages tell the same — freshman Chandler Schmidt is averaging 18.3 points per game to lead the team. Seniors Ty Sturm (11.2) and Jake Edwards (10.1) are the other two scoring in double figures.
“Cabell Midland, they’re a bunch of tough kids with no stars, but they play really well together,” Schmidle said. “They hustle, play hard and are well coach. Rick Chaffin has done a great job in a short time to get that program turned around.”
Prior to this season, the last time Cabell Midland reached the state tournament was 2002.
The Hawks will take on either George Washington or Cabell Midland at 9 p.m. Friday with a shot at the state championship game on the line. UHS lost the last two years in the semifinals.