When the Virginia Group 2A girls regional championship series began this year, those who make prognostications about the final outcomes predicted that, when all was said and done, Floyd County High School’s Lady Buffaloes would face Brunswick in the state final in Richmond next weekend.
But basketball, like so many sports, is a game of twists, turns and missed opportunities and neither team makes the journey to the Virginia State Capitol next week. Instead, the championship will be decided between the teams that the Lady Buffs beat in the quarter-final and final matches last year on their way to a state title.
Gate City upset Floyd in the regional semi-finals this year and then steamrolled over East Rockingham Saturday at the UVA-Wise arena while Wise County-Central, the team Floyd beat in last year’s state final, is making a return trip to after disposing of Brunswick.
As happens often in tournament play, the favorites don’t make it to the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond for the final shootout.
But there’s a bright spot. Whoever comes out on top after Gate City and Wise-Central take the floor next Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in Richmond will be a team from Southwestern Virginia.
Southwestern Virginia will also claim the top spot for the Group 1A state championship when Honaker meets Chilhowie at noon at the Siegel Center.
Russell Countians will be rolling up Broad Street.
Scott Countains will be stuffing the Siegel Center.
Smyth Countians will be staying in Short Pump.
Wise Countians will be crowding the capital.
While that may be a small consolation for fans of Floyd or Brunswick, it provides some regional pride.