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Prep Basketball Makes Its Return in West Virginia

Central girls play tonight at Weir

Photo by Cody Tomer Wheeling Central’s Marissa Horan leads the Maroon Knights into action tonight for the first game of the 2021 season.

WHEELING — It’s been almost a year.

On March 11 of last year, Magnolia downed Cameron in a classic boys battle to reach the state tournament. That same night, the NBA suspended its season and the NCAA said there would be no fans at the March Madness games as the uncertainty and fear of COVID-19 began to wreak havoc on the world.

The next day, the Wheeling Central girls fell 75-63 to Gilmer County in the state quarterfinals in Charleston. Not long after that game ended, the world stood still.

As the wait went on, the state tournament was eventually canceled. Then, the beginning of this season was pushed back leaving high school basketball fans and players wondering ‘when will we play again?’

Well, wait no more!

Today, after nearly a year of trials and tribulations, high school basketball returns to the state of West Virginia.

Wheeling Central finally gets a chance to return to the court as it travels to Weir to kick off its first season in Class AAA and plays its first game since the season shut down nearly a year ago.

“Our Knights are extremely excited to get back on the court,” first-year Wheeling Central girls’ head coach Roberta Olejasz said. “We have been planning for this for what seems like a year. They are ready to put their hard work to the test in our season opener against Weirton tonight.”

Along with the Knights, the John Marshall girls will begin their 2021 slate on Thursday with a home game against University. Although, it’s on their home court, head coach Brock Melko and the Monarchs would be willing to play just about anywhere at this point in time.

“I think we are just excited to be here and do what we love,” Melko said. “One of my favorite sayings is, ‘to appreciate the sun, you have to know what rain is.’

“Over the past year, we have all experienced our fair share of rain. Now, it feels like the sun is peeking out after the storm and we are all energized and ready to roll.”

Also tipping off on Thursday are the Wheeling Park girls, who trek to Brooke.

The Wheeling Central boys begin the campaign on Friday as the Knights pay a visit to Charleston Catholic and the Linsly girls welcome Clay-Battelle.

Saturday really kicks off the boys’ season as Linsly hosts Weir, Magnolia welcomes Williamstown and Wheeling Park heads to Parkersburg South.

“Our guys have been great at practice,” Park coach Michael Jebbia said. “Practices have been energized and we have had two quality scrimmages. They are excited. We are looking forward to opening the 2021 season on Saturday night at Parkersburg South.”

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