Recently, the Potomac Valley Conference, one of the nation's oldest, released the class AA All-PVC honors. Along with naming the members of the all-conference teams, the most valuable player and team of the year, also came the honoring of the class AA PVC coaches of the year.
By Chapin Jewell
Recently, the Potomac Valley Conference, one of the nation’s oldest, released the class AA All-PVC honors. Along with naming the members of the all-conference teams, the most valuable player and team of the year, also came the honoring of the class AA PVC coaches of the year.
For their efforts and success, Keyser’s John Haines Jr. has been named boys’ Coach of the Year, and Frankfort’s Mike Miller has been named girls’ Coach of the Year.
For Haines, technically, at least for the moment, his Keyser boys’ season has not officially concluded. While play of any sort, to include practices, has been suspended, it is possible, albeit unlikely, that the Golden Tornado still has games to play. After defeating Frankfort 71-70 in double overtime on Friday, March 6, Keyser earned the right to host North Marion in a regional co-final game.
That game against North Marion, scheduled to take place on Thursday, March 9, at Keyser, would ultimately have determined who advanced to the boys’ state basketball tournament in Charleston. Literally on the day of, however, word came down from the WVSSAC that the game was suspended with the uncertainty of whether play would be approved again still hanging in the balance.
Therefore, at this time, it’s important to honor the success Haines and his team have enjoyed up to this point in the suspended season. Currently, the Golden Tornado stands with an overall season record of 18-7. The Golden Tornado, like last year, started the season with some relative ups and downs but improved steadily to a point where they were playing their best basketball come playoff time.
Keyser started the season with a bang by defeating Bishop Walsh’s Burgundy squad in dramatic fashion (47-45). Next came a convincing 69-50 victory over East Fairmont for a quick 2-0 start. Next came two straight losses, one to regional opponent North Marion (70-51), the other to sectional opponent Grafton (53-39). In the blink of an eye, 2-0 became 2-2.
Over the next seven games, Keyser enjoyed success and letdowns. There would be victories over Tucker County, Hampshire, Petersburg and Berkeley Springs, but also losses to Southern, Frankfort and Hampshire. At the conclusion of their first 11 games, Keyser found themselves just above .500 with a 6-5 record.
Then the switch flipped. As Haines predicted early on, Keyser would continue to improve game by game. Over the next 14 games, the Golden Tornado would enjoy win streaks of four games (Fort Hill, Allegany, Petersburg, Philip Barbour), three games (Berkeley Springs, Sissonville, Tucker County) and five games (Allegany, Northern, Petersburg, Grafton, Frankfort).
Keyser won 12 of their final 14 games in total, losing only to Frankfort and Mountain Ridge in that stretch. The Golden Tornado finished what’s been played thus far with five straight victories, punctuated with sectional playoff wins against Grafton (80-72) and Frankfort (71-70). The Grafton win avenged an earlier loss to the Bearcats, with the Frankfort win avenging two previous losses to the Falcons, and most importantly setting Keyser up to control their own destiny with the regional co-final at home.
For his outstanding coaching efforts and the effort of his team, Keyser’s coach John Haines Jr. has been named the class AA PVC boys’ Coach of the Year.
Unlike Haines’ situation, for Frankfort girls’ coach Mike Miller, the season has unfortunately concluded, and without the much-desired trip to the girls’ state tournament. While the Falcons fell heartbreakingly short of a trip to Charleston with their 47-38 loss to Fairmont Senior in the regional co-final, it doesn’t erase either the remarkable season the Lady Falcons enjoyed or the back to back trips to the state tournament the Falcons made in each of the last two seasons.
The Lady Falcons began the season with impressive wins over AAA University (38-35) and Spring Mills (66-39). Then came a total thrashing of both Petersburg (93-35) and Hampshire (74-30). With a record of 4-0 and with four quality wins under their belt, Frankfort welcomed top-ranked North Marion into Short Gap.
Although they would ultimately fall one-point short in overtime (67-66), the Lady Falcons showed that they were capable of playing with anyone in the state and would be a force to be reckoned with.
With a then record of 4-1, Frankfort would go on to win their next 19 consecutive games. The first five victories in the string came against Keyser, Philip Barbour, Fairmont Senior, Allegany and Mountain Ridge, with the signature victory in that stretch against third-ranked Fairmont Senior 60-59.
The next five victories came against Bishop Walsh, Berkeley Springs, Elkins, Northern and Fort Hill. Next came victories against Petersburg, Tucker County, Hampshire and Southern, with Southern being the signature victory (56-46) in that stretch as the Lady Rams made it to the Maryland’s final four.
Finally, Frankfort finished the 19-game run of victories with wins over Musselman, Grafton, Philip Barbour and Petersburg in the sectional final. With their loss to Fairmont Senior in the regional co-final, the Lady Falcons concluded their season with a jaw-dropping record of 23-2.
For his outstanding coaching efforts and the effort of his team, Frankfort’s coach Mike Miller has been named the class AA PVC girls’ Coach of the Year.
In future editions of the Mineral News-Tribune, the list of All-PVC players will be announced.