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Life in the sports world

March 19, 2012
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor ( , The Herald-Star

Please continue praying for Justin Cummings and his family.

The Indian Creek student has been tweeted by, amongst others, Neil Walker, Antonio Brown and Montario Hardesty - and all asking for prayers for Justin and his family.

His days of Friday night lights and coming off the bench to grab an offensive rebound are, as of now, in the rear view mirror.

He and his family have a long road looking through the windshield and they need help.

We all don't know him or his family, but we all can help.


"Pray without ceasing." - 1Thessalonians 5:17

The Steelers coming to Big Red as the Steubenville High School and East Elementary students and staff will host a Pittsburgh Steelers charity basketball game to benefit the family of Lee West, March 31 at the Crimson Center. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the game starting at 8 p.m.

There will be games for prizes, auction items, drawings, food and more. The Steelers will sign autographs at halftime. Proceeds will be donated to the Lee West Fund at WesBanco.

Tickets are $7.

For information or to donate a drawing item, contact Steubenville Key Club adviser Ross Ivkovich at or (740) 282-9741 or Tiffany Mills at or (740) 282-5112.

I am trying to figure out why Alex Smith was mad that San Francisco was negotiating with Peyton Manning.

Smith had a contract offer on the table and chose to say no, thus opening the door for Manning.

If Smith signs the contract there is no guarantee that the 49ers won't pursue Manning, but I like the chances of the Bay Area team sticking with Smith and going about its business.

Nice decision on my part to have Missouri going to the Final Four.

The Masters is a few weeks away and I am looking forward to the tournament.

I'll take Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy to battle it out down the back nine Sunday afternoon with Lefty winning by a shot after he birdies No. 17.

The basketball playoffs in West Virginia need a makeover.

The recent makeover was to try and get the eight best teams in the state to Charleston. Well, that's not happening and it's time to set things up so the top eight teams have the best chance of getting there.

Sectionals and regionals are changing next year because teams are moving up and down classifications.

And, if the rumor is true, the Class A Region 1, Section 1 tournament, in addition to the regional draw, may be better than the state tournament.

So, here is what I propose and I will use this year's Class AA standings as the case study.

There were 40 teams in Class AA. Teams in slots 25-40 pair up for the final eight spots in the 32-team bracket.

The Maxpreps rankings are used because there is no bias from anyone involved.

The pairings for the first round are No. 39 vs. No. 40 (to face the No. 1 seed) , No. 38 vs. No. 37 (No. 2), etc. until you get No. 25 vs. No. 26 (No. 8). Those games would be played on a Saturday at 4 p.m. at the higher-seeded court.

Those 32-teams are broken into eight pods at the top eight seeds through the Maxpreps rankings, which this year, when I did it last week, Nos. 1-8 were: Tug Valley, Bluefield, Wyoming East, Tolsia, Westside, Magnolia, Oak Hill and Sissonville (three of those teams were not in Charleston).

Tug Valley, No. 1, would host No. 32 (winner of 39 vs. 40) and No. 16 Hoover vs. No. 17 Shady Spring.

Those games would be played at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on a Friday with the winners meeting at 7 p.m. Saturday. The winners of the eight pods head to Charleston.

For your information, Weir High was No. 23 and would have faced No. 10 Mingo County at the Oak Hill pod.

Oak Glen would have hosted Liberty-Clarksburg in that first Saturday game and the winner would have gone to face Wyoming East, along with No. 14 PikeView and No. 19 Grafton.

The basketball committee has to figure out a way to get the seedings out of the hands of the coaches.

For Hedgesville to be the No. 7 seed heading into the Class AAA tournament was a joke. Hedgesville beat No. 2 Wheeling Park, No. 6 Parkersburg and No. 5 George Washington to win the championship.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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