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Around the Hardwoods with Wild Bill

by Bill Turner

Tuesday night saw our Roanoke-area teams cut to one as the Hidden Valley boys survived overtime to knock off Liberty Bealton and advance to play the Christiansburg-Potomac Falls winner for the Division 4 state championship Saturday night at the VCU, Siegel Center in Richmond. Game time is set for 9:00 pm.

The Salem girls were eliminated earlier Tuesday evening by the Liberty-Bealeton girls squad, ending the Lady Spartans’ late season run. Great job by Salem head coach Dewayne Harrell and the Spartans for such a huge turnaround.

Last week’s quarterfinal predictions were right on track. The Hidden Valley boys had too much for William Byrd down the stretch as the Titans pulled away late for the 49-39 win to advance. Give first-year Byrd coach Kevin Tuck and his Terriers a lot of credit. They had Hidden Valley where they wanted them in the fourth quarter, as Byrd only trailed by one point early in the final frame.

The Salem girls came through with a convincing 10-point win over E.C. Glass in the Salem Civic Center aided by a 21-9 third quarter rally that shattered any hopes for the Hilltoppers.

The Hidden Valley girls came out of the gate strong against Turner Ashby, but a defensive adjustment put the clamps on the Titan’s top scorer, Tyler Evans, and the rest of her teammates. TA made a 12-0 run in the second quarter and never looked back in the Knight’s 47-27 win. Evans ended up with 18 points, with 12 coming from the free throw line. The remaining Titan lineup was held to just 9 points. Look for big things next year from a Hidden Valley team that returns most of its squad.

Now to the college ranks, where Va. Tech has managed to get itself tangled up in ropes akin to a Three Stooges disaster. Come on Hokies- get your legs for a final run and make the Great Predictor  look good. These guys deserve a berth in the tournament based on fortitude alone. And UVA, with an improbable win at Maryland, may well land a spot in the NIT, a feat that would have been laughed at three weeks ago.

Speaking of March Madness, I’m starting to go sour on what I once considered a great event. I think it’s the repetitive cliches that are getting on my nerves.

If I hear another thing about a team being ‘on the bubble’ I think I’ll scream. Bubbles belong in a bathtub or what you blow out of a ring dipped in soapy water. Bubbles have nothing to do with basketball. Plus, if you thought my ranting and raving on Liberace was bad, don’t get me started on Lawrence Welk, the King of Bubbles. Hopefully, on the selection show, some clown won’t be pointing out the seeds with a baton and an accordion accompanist.

And what in the world is bracketology? There is no science to a group of old men going into a room and emerging with 68 teams to play a game. We’ll hear why we’re to be intrigued that the coach of one team must play another that he was fired from, or previously played for. Then we’re expected to believe these guys are geniuses because they sent Old Dominion to play in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

To test the waters on this term I asked my waitress, at media-central IHOP, if she had considered seeing a bracketologist.  The glare I got wasn’t pretty.

Here’s my 2011 bracket-buster trivia question. Who was the first Roanoke-area player to secure a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament? If you said Luke Hancock of George Mason, you get an “E” for effort, but the former Hidden Valley star is not the guy. It was Toles Hartman of Big-South champion UNC-Ashville. Hartman played last season for North Cross under former Raider coach Joe Lambert.

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