Beallsville unsure about use of new gymnasium

Should either – or both – the Beallsville boys’ or girls’ basketball teams finish in the top two among the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference’s Class A teams and earn home court advantage when the playoffs begin, the Blue Devils could find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

It seems that the gymnasium at the still-under-construction new Beallsville High School could be ready when the Wheeling Hospital-sponsored girls’ event gets under way on Monday, Feb. 6 with semifinal action.

But, would either, both, or neither, consider playing in the state-of-the-art facility and give up a decided homecourt advantage in their 1955-built box-of-a-gym?

“That would be a debated question,” said veteran boys’ head coach Lou “Scooter” Tolzda, whose team is a sparkling 9-1. “I don’t know what we’d do. We definitely have a home court advantage in our gym now, and I’m not sure in the OVAC playoffs that we’d want to give that up, but that’s just the way I feel.

“A decision like that, should it come about, I’d probably leave up to the team.”

Girls’ coach Rick Jarrett, whose squad is 7-2, said it would be nice, but it really doesn’t matter to him.

“We seem to do alright on bigger floors, but we practice here on this (small) floor every day,” Jarrett said. “This is where we are comfortable at, but we are also comfortable playing on bigger floors. It would be exciting for the girls, I guess.”

Athletic Director Delmas Moore said the new gym could be ready next month.

“The last word from our administration was that it may be available in February,” he reported. “If we would qualify in both or either tournament, that would be a possibility, but we are still trying to play a game or two in there.

“It’s all still to be determined, but it would be nice, obviously,” Moore added.

The long-time AD said he can remember his days playing in the gym, which is approximately 56-feet long and not very wide.

“During the school year and even some in the summer, this gym is never empty,” Moore stated. “There is something going on in there every day.”

He said the gym is not only used by the varsity boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, but the home wrestling meets are also staged there, as are junior high and pee-wee games.

“There’s only one other gym in the Ohio Valley that is similar to our gym, and that is Conotton Valley where they still have a restraining line where you can’t receive the ball from out-of-bounds. Theirs is 5-foot longer, but much narrower,” he recalled.

Moore said the new gym will be 85-foot long and will resemble Baylor University’s floor.

“The three-point arc will be a different color from the floor itself,” he said. “It will be a very nice facility. It will be like Martins Ferry’s or River’s, but not seating-wise. I think the public will be amazed when they see it.”

Renowned barn painter Scott Hagan, a Beallsville High School graduate, did the wall paintings inside the facility.

“They really look nice,” Moore allowed.

Moore also reported that the new grade school gym will have a nice floor, as well.

“That will give us something that we’ve never had,” he said. “The ability to practice four teams at once because it has a net divider.”

Whenever the gym is ready, I’m sure the Blue Devils will be excited to play in it, but will they?

That remains to be seen.

North can be reached at