By DAVE MORRISON
ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket
Wyoming East beat the Class AAA No. 1 Morgantown Mohigans over the weekend, 68-46.
But the victory came at a price.
The Warriors have potentially lost all-state guard Gabby Lupardus for the season with a knee injury. More will be known when the swelling goes down and an MRI is performed.
The game was part of the the Frank Hines Classic in Fairmont.
It was the second time that Lupardus has suffered an injury in a game at Fairmont. She suffered an ankle injury there early last year and missed several games.
The Warriors lost to No. 2 Huntington Friday night 68-63. Keep in mind Fairmont also beat Morgantown in the tournament, ironically 67-46, on Friday.
If any team can sustain the loss of a star it is Wyoming East. They are deep and talented. East beat Morgantown with Kara Sandy out with an illness and then lost Lupardus in the second quarter. But they added on to the lead.
But it’s tough to lose a star the caliber of a Gabby Lupardus. Hopefully she can bounce back from this injury quickly.
Emily Saunders, the tall post a 6-5, has had a good start to the season. She had 28 points, 20 rebounds and eight blocks against Huntington and 24 points, 14 rebound and 10 blocks against Morgantown. Jazz Blankenship has scored in double figures in both games, including 19 against Morgantown.
In other triple double news, Westside’s Morgan Thomas had a triple double in a 57-56 victory against Nicholas County with 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
X X X
As big games go, at least in these parts, Bluefield traveling to Wyoming East tomorrow is certainly a good one to open the season. Both made the state tournament last season, winning road games in their Class AA Region 3 co-finals.
Wyoming East advanced to the semifinals, losing to runner-up Poca. Bluefield gave eventual state champion Fairmont a run for its money before running out of gas in the second half.
That was then. This is now.
Bluefield enters with Mookie Collier, who scored over 17 points per game. The Beavers lost Jeremy Thompson, who averaged over 17 points as well, but they add Cody Fuller, a Richlands transfer who has already scored over 1,000 points in his career.
Wyoming East suffered the most losses, four starters and have new coach Derek Brooks leading the show.
In the preseason, Wyoming East had four different players score in double figures and Brooks said that will be the trend.
“Our top five or six could score double figures on any night,” Brooks said.
Dylan Brehm, Logan Mullins, Zach Cook and Cory McKinney all scored in double figures during the preseason and the word over the summer was Wyoming East would surprise people. No time like the now, although I can’t remember many times any victory by Wyoming East in New Richmond was a surprise. Maybe South Charleston a few years back.
You don’t lose the season on any given night of the regular season but it is a good early measuring stick for both teams.
If I was ranking the sections in Class AA Region 3 it would go like this:
Section 1: Westside, Wyoming East, Independence, Oak Hill, Liberty.
Section 2: PikeView, Shady Spring, Bluefield, James Monroe, River View.
Those are subject to change and they will change during the season.
Too many teams I don’t know about in the Class AAA, Region 3 (Woodrow will be very good and will contend for its 17th state championship, which is an obvious statement just about every year) and Fayetteville will be very good in Class A.