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MEC Semifinal Day Recap

(Fairmont State-Charleston men’s highlights above)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Championship games are set for Sunday afternoon at the MEC Tournament at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling. All 14 MEC Tournament games will be broadcast at wvmetronews.com. Check out the complete tournament schedule and pairings at mountaineast.org.

Women’s Semifinal #1 – Charleston 71, Wheeling 55

Women’s Semifinal #2 – Glenville State 88, Notre Dame College 69
Men’s Semifinal #1 – Fairmont State 84, Charleston 69 (highlights at top of page)
Men’s Semifinal #2 – West Liberty 95, Glenville State 92

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Highlights: Reasbeck & Toepfer lift Wheeling Central over Winfield

(Highlights by Taylor Kennedy)

WINFIELD, W.Va. — In the first ever regular season matchup between father Mel Stephens and son Chris Stephens, Wheeling Central made seven three pointers, four of which came from Michael Toepfer, leading Central to a 64-54 win.

Ryan Reasbeck led all scorers with 27 points. Toepfer tallied 16 as well.

The Maroon Knights outscored the Generals 43-33 in the second half.

Winfield was led by senior Ethan Kincaid and junior Seth Shilot. Both recorded 19 points. 

Shilot converted 11 of his 19 points in the first half. Kincaid nailed five threes in the second half.

Wheeling Central will head back home after playing two games away from home to face Weir on Tuesday. Winfield will hit the road for a four-game road trip beginning on March 11th at Ripley.

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Berkeley County no longer recycling plastics

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Last year when a lot of Berkeley County residents were working and schooling at home, the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority’s Clint Hogbin says they were filling tractor trailers full of plastics and paper faster than they could get them emptied at some time.

Friday morning, though, Hogbin announced they are halting collection of all plastic containers and plastic bags at all location because of market issue.

Berkeley County Recycling Center (File)

“Plastic containers continue to be a topic where we’re having trouble finding affordable markets. It’s not just Berkeley County. It’s happening all over the country,” Hogbin told the Panhandle News Network.

The Solid Waste Authority said the decision was not made lightly

“We’ve always found another way, we’ve always worked hard behind the scenes to find another market,” Hogbin said. “But the I’m afraid the current situation is not sustainable. And I hate to say that, but that’s just the realism. It’s more expensive than our budget supports.”

At this time, all plastic material will need to placed with your normal trash in Berkeley County. Hogbin said he takes some comfort in knowing some plastics will stay out of the waste stream in Berkeley County.

Hogbin said for now the plastics will be used in the conversion into fuel by Entsorga West Virginia. He said it’s the best option for now.

“If you are a subscriber to Apple Valley (Waste), it will be taken to Entsorga and Entsorga will use it for fuel. That’s definitely better than having it put in a landfill, and yes it does bring me some comfort that it’s not going to sit in a landfill for decades. Recycling is better alternative than even making fuel, and we would work hard to get it back,” Hogbin said.

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Kinsey leads Herd to regular season finale win over Charlotte

By David Walsh

HUNTINGTON, W. Va.  – Taevion Kinsey took the game over midway through the second half to lead Marshall past Charlotte, 75-66, in men’s Conference USA basketball Saturday afternoon at Cam Henderson Center.

Kinsey, junior from Columbus, Ohio, connected on a three-point shot with 11:25 left to put the Thundering Herd ahead to stay 49-46. He added a dunk and basket to push the advantage to 53-46. He added two free throws to end the game and finish with a game-high 23 points and team-high eight rebounds to turn Senior Day into a success for Jarrod West, Darius George and Jannson Williams, Mikel Beyers and Luke Thomas. They were honored in pre-game festivities.

The psyched-up Herd raced to leads of 13-0 and 16-2 before Charlotte righted its ship and made a game of it and pulled even by halftime at 34-34.

“All pumped up,” Herd coach Dan D’Antoni said of the team’s emotions prior to tipoff. “Kind of eased back. Can only stay pumped up so long, have a letdown. We pride ourselves that we play hard, we’re competitive and we’re gonna do it every day. Playing hard is fun. If playing hard is not fun then you’re in the wrong game.”

Andy Taylor added 21 points and Williams 11. The Herd had eights threes in the first half, but only went 1-of-3 in the second, the one by Kinsey. On the flip side, the Herd, which did not shoot a free throw in the first half, went 14-of-14 in the second as it handed Charlotte its eighth straight loss. It’s the first time since Jan. 20, 2018 against UAB in which Marshall made all of its free throws with 10 or more attempts.

 “One sets up the other,” D’Antoni said of shooting threes and inside the arc. “An effort to get to the rim by design. Told them we’ve got to get to the basket. We held our picks longer.”

Marshall (15-6, 9-5 C-USA) finished 13-of-21 from the field overall in the second half. The Herd has won six of its last seven and eight of 10 as it prepares to head to the C-USA Tournament starting Tuesday in Frisco, Texas. Marshall’s first game is Wednesday against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Southern Miss/Rice. The starting time will be determined Sunday.

“This helps get us ready,” Kinsey said. “The momentum should help us. Today it was have fun, help the seniors out. Everybody got their part figured out. Now it’s win or go home. Basketball is a game of runs. I’m glad we finished off the second half.”

About the success at the foul line, Kinsey said, “Very clutch. Last year it was one of our weaknesses. They’re free points. We want to get some.”

A year ago, Marshall beat UTEP in the first round (March 11), but then league officials canceled the event the next day due to the Coronavirus and eventual pandemic. The Herd had been scheduled to play Louisiana Tech.

“Unfinished business,” Kinsey said of the trip. “One game, it ends. Didn’t get to finish, show what we really are. This year we will.”

Williams looks forward to the trip to the Lonestar State for a final time.

“It usually clicks for me around this time every season, when it’s time to go to Frisco,” he said. “I feel like we have a chance to complete what we couldn’t complete last year. I loved it (Senior Day). Couldn’t have asked for more (here).  I’m very blessed, very thankful.”

Jordan Shepherd led Charlotte (9-15, 5-11) with 20 points. Jahmir Young had 15, Jared Garcia 14 and Brice Williams 11. Garcia, a freshman, pulled down 11 rebounds for a double-double and career-highs in both categories.

West had two of the Herd’s eight steals to move to No. 2 all-time in C-USA with 252. He passed UTEP’s Randy Culpepper (251). West is 12 away from tying Charlotte’s Eddie Basden for the league record.

Marshall has won eight of the last nine games against Charlotte and leads the overall series 13-7. All league teams will be in Frisco for the C-USA Tournament. Senior Day attendance was 1,145 due to limited seating  created by COVID-19 protocols.

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Undermanned Oklahoma State tops West Virginia to deny Huggins 900th win

(Bob Huggins postgame Zoom conference)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bob Huggins’ search for career win No. 900 will extend at least into next week.

Despite playing without future NBA lottery pick Cade Cunningham and starting guard Isaac Likekele, No. 17 Oklahoma State willed its way to the basket over and over, shooting nearly 70 percent on two-point field goals and 58 percent in all to claim an 85-80 victory over sixth-ranked West Virginia at the Coliseum.

“We can’t guard,” Huggins said. “I’ve told you guys that and then I get crucified for telling you guys the truth. We don’t guard.”

Without Cunningham and Likekele, the Cowboys (18-7, 11-7 Big 12) ran much of their offense through Avery Anderson. Anderson answered the call and then some, scoring a game-high 31 points, including 20 in the second half. Avery made 11-of-14 shots and 8-of-10 free throws, while consistently carving up the Mountaineers.

“I played against Avery in high school and I know he’s a capable player,” said senior guard Taz Sherman, who led WVU with 20 points. “Without their two main players I knew he was going to try to take charge and he destroyed us today with 31.”

Twenty of Anderson’s points came after halftime, allowing the Cowboys to erase a five-point deficit and earn a regular season split with West Virginia, which fell to 18-8 and 11-6 in league play.

Oklahoma State made 29-of-43 two-point shots and 16-of-22 after halftime, causing WVU great difficulty with penetration to create high percentage shots. The Cowboys finished with 50 points in the paint.

“It’s something we haven’t been good at all year,” WVU guard Miles McBride said of preventing opponents from driving to the basket. “I honestly can’t tell you why. I think our help defense has obviously been our weak part. Everybody is going to get beat when there’s Division I players on the other side. The difference is help defense. They play better help defense than we do.”

The Cowboys took their first lead of the second half at 50-48 on a Bernard Kouma layup with 14:28 remaining.

West Virginia guard Taz Sherman (12) shoots underneath the basket among Oklahoma State defenders. Photo by Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

That lead stood until West Virginia tied the game at 67 on a pair of McBride free throws. The Mountaineers eventually had separate one-point leads at 71-70 and 73-72 before Anderson put OSU ahead for good with a layup at the 3:26 mark.

OSU doubled its lead to 80-76 on Kalib Boone’s two free throws with 1:17 remaining, and the Cowboys appeared to be in good shape when Rondel Walker rebounded a Jalen Bridges’ miss on the ensuing possession. But Anderson’s turnover four seconds later led to Sherman’s layup and the Mountaineers were back to within two.

Anderson more than made up for it when he drained a challenged jumper on the following possession. He then split two free throws to make it 83-80 and Keylan Boone stole a post entry pass from McBride with 11 seconds remaining to help OSU preserve the win. Anderson sealed the verdict with two more free throws.

“They were just running by us,” Huggins said. “They ball screened, but everybody in America ball screens. They didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. They were just better than us today.”

Neither team led by more than six at any point, with WVU’s 35-29 advantage late in the first half proving to be the largest lead of the contest.

Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe added 18 points in the win, while Kouma led all players with 10 rebounds to key the Cowboys to a 38-29 rebounding edge.

Derek Culver was WVU’s second-leading scorer with 14 points and became the 54th player in West Virginia history to reach 1,000 career points early in the second half on a dunk.

McBride scored 12 points and Emmitt Matthews Jr. added 11, giving the Mountaineers four double figure scorers in defeat. Bridges was held scoreless in the loss.

Oklahoma State had 20 turnovers, but held West Virginia to 25-for-60 shooting (41.7 percent).

“I don’t know how we scored 80 when our four guys that generally make shots didn’t make shots,” Huggins said.

Saturday’s loss moved West Virginia below Kansas in the Big 12 standings and assured the Mountaineers of finishing no higher than third in the conference. Should Texas beat TCU on Sunday, the Longhorns would also surpass West Virginia in the standings and drop the Mountaineers into fourth and in position to meet the Cowboys again in a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal.

“We had zero bounce and it was that way from the beginning,” Huggins said. “I kept saying fellas, ‘We have to play. We have no bounce.’ It didn’t do any good.”

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Highlights: Williamstown takes opener over Magnolia, 68-41

(Highlights by Teran Malone)

NEW MARTINSVILLE, W.Va. — Williamstown defeated Magnolia, 68-41 Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both schools.

Magnolia was led by Levi Cecil’s 13-point effort. Sam Cremeans and Xavier Caruthers led Williamstown with 17 points and Ryan Wager added 14 points.

 

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Morgantown collects impressive win at Martinsburg, 65-45

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Morgantown used a strong defensive effort in the final three quarters to win at Martinsburg, 65-45 Saturday afternoon. It was the Mohigans’ second game in less than 24 hours to start the regular season. Morgantown defeated Washington at home Friday evening.

Tied at 17 after the first quarter, Morgantown allowed just eight points in the second quarter to build a 39-25 halftime lead. The Mohigans led by double digits for the entirety of the second half.

“I thought our zone was pretty good tonight,” said Morgantown head coach Dave Tallman. “Yesterday we played a lot of man-to-man and got in foul trouble early. We tried to limit the fouls, especially on the road. I thought our guys did a good job keeping everything in front and holding them to one shot.”

Carson Poffenberger was one of three Morgantown players to score in double figures. He led all scorers with 20 points.

“That’s the best I have seen him play. He has to play physical. If he plays physical, he is going to be a matchup problem for people all year long, especially with the speed we have around him and the shooters we have out front. I was really proud of him tonight.”

Freshman Sharron Young scored 17 points in his second varsity game. “He is just a good fit. The guys like him. He meshes well with them. He has great vision. So who wouldn’t want to play with a guy that gets you wide open looks? It starts with that and he is a good shooter and a good defender. He wants to be really good and works extremely hard every day.”

Luke Bechtel scored a dozen points for the Mohigans. Anthony Smith led Martinsburg (0-1) with 10 points. Morgantown will conclude their eastern panhandle road trip with a game at Musselman Sunday afternoon.

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Dozens of arrests in Huntington following two-phase warrant sweep

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Various local, state and federal authorities made dozens of arrests this week in connection with outstanding warrants on a variety of drug and violence charges.

According to Huntington Police, the operation took place from Tuesday through Thursday.

The first phase of the sweep concentrated on the execution of five drug-related search warrants.

Those arrested included:

Dejuana Bass, aka “Nikki”/ “D,” 45, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrest for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance after a distribution amount of crack cocaine, digital scales and a .380 pistol was retrieved from her residence on 26th Street during one of the narcotics search warrants.

Jonathan Baker, aka “Chill,” 36, of Macon, Georgia, was arrested at the 26th address as well after he was confirmed to be a person prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Gregory Bowen, aka “Greg,” 51, Stevie Farnsworth, 23, and Steven Wolford, 29, all of Huntington were arrested in the 3300 Block of Maple Court after a narcotics search warrant was executed at Bowen’s residence. All individuals are facing possession with intent to deliver after approximately 25 grams of suspected crystal methamphetamine and digital scales were found in the residence.

Xzavier Jackson and Jordan Walker, aka “J-Dub,” were also arrested for possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance. A narcotics search warrant was executed at their residence in the 300 Block of West 6th Avenue which led to distribution amounts of suspected marijuana, digital scales and more $4,000 in cash being seized.

The department said 37 other individuals were arrested in the second phase of the warrant sweep.

Agencies participating were the Huntington Police Department Barboursville Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), and the West Virginia Division of Corrections.

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Man faces charges for multiple break-ins in Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A suspect is now under arrest following a string of breaking and entering cases in the city of Martinsburg.

The Martinsburg Police Department reports Joseph Long, 19, has been charged with 13 counts of Breaking & Entering, 4 counts of Grand Larceny, along with 3 counts of Conspiracy (to commit associated crimes) all of which are felony charges.

Over the last few months, beginning in December, several downtown businesses were broken into, including Habaneros, Las Trancas, Rosemont Elementary, Martinsburg Thai, Angelo’s Pizza, Peking restaurant, Habaneros, Slayed Hair Beauty Salon, Kwik Check, Boost Mobile, Thai Finn, and El Mercadito.

Investigators say the suspect was looking for cash he could obtain quickly and leave. He did not get money in every instance, but did in most.

Police say the suspect hit during the night and used items to break windows and gain entrance.

Long was arrested on Feb. 23 by the Eastern Panhandle Drug and Violent Crimes task force for charges unrelated to these B&E’s. After given his Miranda Warnings. Mr. Long allegedly confessed to some of the Breaking and Entering’s.

In his confession details he gave matched information which officers had already obtained from responding to the various scenes and the follow up that officers have done. However, it is our belief that he did minimize some of the details of the crimes in his confession. Further details will be worked out in court.

Police say there may be other persons involved in these B&E’s. Anyone with information regarding these crimes is urged to contact the Martinsburg Police Department at 304-264- 2100 or contact the Berkeley County Crime Solvers at 304-264-2100.

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US Senate passes coronavirus relief bill following lengthy amendment process

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After working through much of Friday and Saturday morning on the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, the U.S. Senate passed the measure 50-49.

The vote before 12:30 p.m. Saturday came after Senate Democrats overcame a near 12-hour stalemate on unemployment benefits and lawmakers considered multiple amendments to the package. The House of Representatives — which approved its coronavirus relief measure last Saturday — will have to approve the Senate’s changes before President Joe Biden receives the legislation.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. (File)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., backed the final measure alongside Democratic colleagues as West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Republicans opposed the bill. Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan left the Capitol Friday for a family funeral; he voted Thursday against proceeding with the bill.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has tested our entire nation and through it all, West Virginians have banded together to keep our loved ones safe,” Manchin said in a statement. “The end is within reach and this COVID-19 relief package is what West Virginia needs to put this pandemic behind us once and for all”

The bill includes $1,400 relief payments for most Americans, as well as funding for coronavirus response and vaccination efforts, reopening schools, and assistance to local and state governments. Stimulus checks will not be sent to individuals making more than $80,000, heads of households earning more than $120,000, and joint tax filers making more than $160,000.

West Virginia will receive $1.3 billion in federal funding through the legislation, while city and county governments will get $624 million. According to the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, West Virginia has yet to spend more than $660 million in federal CARES Act money.

Manchin, Democratic leaders and the White House were in a standoff for much of Friday over an amendment regarding unemployment benefits, in which Democrats first pushed extending benefits to $300 a week until Oct. 4 and providing $10,200 in unemployment tax benefits regardless of income. Both sides agreed on a compromise that extends unemployment benefits until Sept. 6 with a $150,000 cap on tax breaks. Work in the Senate was halted as negotiations were underway.

“The President has made it clear we will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May and I am confident the economic recovery will follow,” Manchin said Friday evening. “We have reached a compromise that enables the economy to rebound quickly while also protecting those receiving unemployment benefits from being hit with unexpected tax bill next year.”

Capito said the deadlock showed the bill’s flaws and a problem with Democrats trying to pass a measure without Republican support.

“If we had worked together, bipartisan, as we had the last five times, we would have eliminated this anxiety and these disagreements,” she told MetroNews. “We would have been able to have these things worked out in advance. That’s what we told the president, but they decided to go straight party-line on it.”

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (File)

Capito and nine other Republicans pushed a $618 billion legislative framework, which included $1,000 relief checks and extending $300 unemployment payments through June. The senators met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris last month to discuss the proposal, but according to Capito, the GOP group never heard back from the White House after the meeting.

“The White Hosue basically said they were going to go their own way and make it a straight party-line vote, so our ideas were basically not considered,” she said.

Eleven senators — including Capito — introduced an amendment early Saturday to replace the $1.9 trillion bill with a $650 billion substitute, which included $1,400 relief checks. The Senate voted 51-48 to reject the amendment.

Republicans were critical of the price tag of the American Rescue Plan leading up to the vote, arguing the measure’s spending is not directed solely toward assisting individuals and groups still struggling because of the pandemic.

“The economy is starting to come back. The job numbers were good,” Capito said. “We need to take care of those people who are still unemployed, those families that are still hurting, and make sure that we get the vaccine distribution out as quickly and as broadly as possible.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday employers hired 379,000 additional people in February — ahead of expectations — with most of the gains in the leisure and hospitality industries.

“Without a rescue plan, these gains are going to slow,” Biden said Friday. “We can’t afford one step forward and two steps backward. We need to beat the virus, provide essential relief and build an inclusive recovery.”

The Senate rejected multiple amendments, including a provision increasing the minimum wage to $15, a proposal asking Biden to review the decision stopping the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and an amendment blocking funding for schools that allow transgender students to participate in women’s sports.

Senators approved amendments related to a veterans’ education program and funding for helping students experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced the chamber will consider the Senate’s revisions on Tuesday.

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