WVSSAC Basketball state tournament returns after COVID-19 cancelation

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Due to the pandemic, the past season almost did not happen,

At the beginning of the pandemic, women’s high school basketball teams around the state came together in Charleston to compete in the championship tournament. But after day two, teams found out just hours before tipoff the season was cut short.

More than a year later, the state tournament is back.

While most teams are happy to be playing again, the Lady Raiders of River View High School are ecstatic to make their second tournament appearance.

“We rose to the occasion all season long,” said Gehrig Justice, River View High School Head Womens’ Basketball Coach.

The Lady Raiders travelled to Charleston for the first time since 2017 as the sixth seed, taking on the three-seed, Calhoun County.

River View went in to this game winners of their first section championship in school history.

Justice made sure his players knew how important this game was.

“Trips down here aren’t givens,” said Justice.

In order to properly social distance while keeping the atmosphere of the stadium alive,
the WVSSAC allowed both family members and a limited number of students in the stands.

One former Lady Raider remembers what it was like to be on the court. Demi Lester was a freshman during River View’s first trip to the state tournament.

“It means the world,” Lester said. “I know how exciting it is going in on the floor for the first time your nerves are just crazy and all over the place, but I’m really happy that they got the chance to go.”

The Lady Raiders have two seniors on the roster. Both Jenna Atwell and Sheridan Calhoun know they got the chance to experience something many students did not. So while the game did not go the way they hoped, they were just happy to compete.

“It set the stage for what I wanted to do,” Atwell. “I thought it was just the perfect chance to go out with a bang. Now that we are here, I just feel accomplished with what we did.”

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