By Paul Adkins Sports Editor
December 8, 2013
In his 13 years as head coach of the Logan High School boys’ basketball team, Mark Hatcher has risen to legendary status in the history of Wildcat basketball.
He’s right up there with the legendary Willie Akers himself.
With two state championships, eight state tournament appearances, numerous sectional and regional crowns and a 213-111 overall record, Logan basketball has been a force to be reckoned with.
However, year 13 was an unlucky one last season for the Wildcats which struggled to an 8-17 record — only its third losing campaign in the Hatcher era and first in 10 years since a 9-14 mark in the 2002-03 season.
Despite the sub .500 record, Logan was Class AAA sectional runner-ups and somehow made it all the way to the regional championship game where the Cats lost 64-58 in overtime to the host Hurricane Redskins at a cramped Hurricane High School gym.
Logan advanced in last year’s 3A sectionals with a 76-71 victory over Spring Valley. The Wildcats then lost 49-36 to Huntington in the 3A sectional finals before falling to Hurricane in the 3A regional title game.
Logan lacked a true inside presence last season and had problems putting the ball in the hoop as the Cats averaged just 51.3 points per contest. Logan only shot 39 percent from the floor as a team.
Logan lost Trent Dalton, A.J. Reynolds, C.J. Williams, T.J. Tomblin and others due to graduation. Reynolds led the team in scoring last season at 10.1 points per game. He was the only player to average in double figures.
The Cats return senior and top 3-point shooter Zak Miller, who averaged 7.6 points per game last season and sank 49 3s. Senior Brynden “Worm” Street (8.4 ppg.) also returns as well as several other promising players.
Seniors Benny Adkins (6-2) and Josh Rein (6-2) are also back for LHS.
Logan is deep and has talent but with many of its players lacking varsity experience, the Wildcats are untested.
Coach Hatcher hopes things come together well and his team is able to rally this season and rise to the challenge.
“We’re still young. We lost a lot of seniors,” he said. “But we have another bunch here. Zak Miller got some valuable playing time last year. Benny Adkins got some and Worm is a two-year starter. This will be his third year starting. Josh Rein got some playing time last year. We have some guys that played some but not a lot but some. We had a really good summer and a really good spring and they did really well in AAU. This summer I was as pleased with them as I have been in a long time. In Fall Ball they also played well.
“We have had more than 30 kids working out since the middle of August. That’s pretty good. That shows me that even though we had a bad year last year record-wise it still did not affect kids still wanting to play ball.”
Hatcher said he will turn to Miller this year for much of Logan’s offense.
“I hope that he hits 149 3-pointers this year,” he said. “He’s a lot of our offense and we have to get him shots. He’s really got to work. I’ve referenced with Zach Green, Stevie Browning, Ryan Haught, Chris Robertson and Paul Herbert Williamson with how hard that they worked to get shots because when you hit 49 3-pointers the next year you are not going to surprise anyone. He’s worked hard in the weight room and has gained some weight. He’s not the biggest kid but he’s got a lot of heart and really works hard.”
Along with Miller, another guard Logan will look to is junior point guard Zac Acord (5-10), who is back after taking last season off.
“He had a great summer and a great fall and has worked extremely well,” Hatcher said. “He sat out last year. I wished that he wouldn’t have but he did. He’s played great and we’re going to depend on him a lot. He’s had a great attitude and he’s one of the leaders of the team.”
Hatcher said he has “a slew” of other guards, including: Rein; freshman Braxton Goff (6-3); sophomore Alex Toler (5-10); junior Ryan Miller (6-2); junior Jalen Cook (6-2); and junior Brenton Vance (6-0).
“We have a bunch of different guys but we had a few who decided not to play this year,” Hatcher said. “We’ll just go on and hopefully some of these younger guys will take their spots.”
Kareem Clansy, a 5-8 sophomore point guard and Skyler Miller, a 5-9 sophomore guard, have really come on strong, Hatcher said. Miller has battled back from leukemia and has been an inspiration for not only the school but the whole city.
“Skyler didn’t get to play football this year but he’s gained about 20 pounds since about the middle of August,” Coach Hatcher said. “He’s really worked hard. He’s been cleared to go and he’s ready to go. He takes charges. He dives on the floor. We treat him the same as everybody else. With me being a cancer patient and with him being a cancer patient we have a little bond there. He’s done great for us.”
At both forward positions and at center, Logan is also deep with many faces looking to make a contribution to the team.
In addition to Street, senior Trevor Abbott (6-3), a transfer from the Gilbert area, hopes to make some noise.
“He’s a new kid and he came to us from Gilbert a couple of years ago,” Hatcher said of Abbott. “He’s been a real pleasant surprise. He’s very athletic. He jumps the ball well and shoots the ball well.”
Logan also has some size at center with seniors Seth Barker (6-6) and Michael Allen (6-6). Adkins also figures into the Cats’ plays at power forward.
“Benny is a smart kid and a tough player,” Hatcher said. “Barker and Allen give us some size.”
Donnie Toppings, a 6-4 junior, gives Logan another post man down low.
“He’s another guy that has come on strong this summer,” Hatcher said of Toppings.
Rounding out Logan’s roster are: senior Kyle Runyon; sophomores Devonte Tolliver, Khalil Murphy; and freshmen Hunter Neal, Sammual Justice, Kyle Porter and Will Akers.
Hatcher said the athletic Street can give the Wildcats some more scoring this season.
“He was inconsistent scoring-wise for us last year,” Hatcher said. “Sometimes he would have 14, 15 or 16 points and then sometimes he would have a couple of baskets at most. I’ve talked to him being more consistent. We need him to score double figures for us every night and close to double figures in rebounds. This summer he got to play the 3 a little bit and I think that was good for him. With the size that we’ve got this year we think that we can move him around a little bit.”
Hatcher said he hopes his new varsity players catch on quick. Many of them have seen either limited varsity minutes or no minutes at all.
“We don’t have a lot of varsity experience,” he said. “But we’re fairly deep. I think that we could play 20 guys and not lose a lot. It’s a good thing to be able to play a lot of guys. This might be one of those years like I did in the past where we have five in and five out. The last couple of years I haven’t been able to do that. This group is very flexible. If you want to play zone I’ve got a bunch of guys that can shoot. If we get up I’ve got a bunch of guards to put in there. If we are playing a big team we’ve got big guys. If we are playing an athletic team I’ve got some athletic guys that I can play. When the lights come on we’ll see what we’ve got. I feel this year’s team is better offensively than last year’s. We hope to turn things around this year.”
The Logan High School boys’ basketball season is always challenged with a difficult schedule.
Year in and year out the Wildcats go up against some of the best in the state.
This year will be no different as Logan will face some pretty tough teams.
The Wildcats are scheduled to open the season Dec. 12 at Hurricane, the same place Logan’s season ended a year ago in the Class AAA regional finals. Hurricane beat Logan twice last sesaon, also winning over the Cats in the season opener.
One of the highlights to Logan’s upcoming schedule is the annual King Coal Classic tourney at Logan where the Wildcats are set to play Point Pleasant. The Logan girls will also play Chapmanville earlier in the day in the tournament. Fairmont State’s women are slated to take on Concord in a college King Coal Classic game.
“Our King Coal Classic has always been late January but we moved it up this year. We were hoping to get the Fairmont State men’s team,” Hatcher said. “Some things fell through. It’s going to be a one-day event.”
Logan’s Jan. 25 home against Greater Beckley Christian will be 1964 Night at the field house as LHS will honor the school’s first-ever state basketball championship team in the 50-year anniversary of the team.
Logan will also play at Chapmanville Regional High School’s Nationwide Classic on Dec. 14 against Scott.
The Cats will also play St. Albans on Dec. 21 in the George Washington tourney and are set to take on Winfield on Feb. 18 in the annual late season tourney at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Wildcats will once again play a home-and-home series against Tug Valley, which has won two straight state championships in Class AA and Single-A last year.
Also on Logan’s schedule are games against Class AAA teams Greenbrier East, Nitro, Lincoln County, Cabell Midland, Huntington, Parkersburg and Capital.
Logan will also host Belfry (Ky.) and will also have a home-and-home series against Class AA team and old rival Westside. Logan was to play Belfry last year but both attempts were thwarted due to snowy weather and poor road conditions.
New to the schedule is a home game against Class A Greater Beckley Christian.
Gone from the slate are Tolsia and Charleston Catholic.
The Cats will be challenged again with a difficult Class AAA sectional with Huntington, Cabell Midland and improved teams Spring Valley and Lincoln County. This year’s tourney will again be played at Huntington High School.
“Huntington is loaded,” Hatcher said. “They’ve got almost their entire team back. They only lost a couple of guys. They have three starters back plus their No. 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 guys back. They are really predicted to be a top two or three team in the state and possibly win the whole thing. Cabell Midland really has a lot of older kids. Last year, they played a lot of juniors and sophomores so this year they should have a lot of seniors. Spring Valley was all young last year with only one senior. Most of them were sophomores, so they will be a handful for the next two years. Lincoln County lost a lot of guys and have a whole new bunch a lot like we are. We’re playing again at Huntington and that could be three away games in the sectionals which always makes it tough.
“It’s a very competitive sectional. This region is also tough with Hurricane, Winfield and St. Albans which all have a lot of returning players. Nitro also has some starters back.”
Hatcher said he likes the new system which was implemented a few years ago. Since it is not sudden death a team with one loss can still make it to the regional tourney.
“We lost in the sectionals last year but were in the regionals and took Hurricane to overtime. I was really happy about that,” Hatcher said. “When we beat Spring Valley last year in the section we were really relaxed playing Huntington High and I thought we played really well. We almost pulled the upset in the finals. We knew we had one game to look forward to and we knew that we were still one game away from the state tournament. I like this system. If you are in a tough section like us when you have to face Huntington which has 1,800 students compared to us which has 700, it make it a huge difference and it still gives you a chance.”
Hatcher said he has some changes on his coaching staff.
“I have a whole new staff,” he said.
His brother and former assistant coach Wes Hatcher has taken the head coaching position with the Pike Central (Ky.) girls’ basketball team.
Jerry Greene returns to the staff as well as Zach Green, now in his second year with Coach Hatcher.
Three ex-Wildcats — Brandon Browning, Greg Adams and Greg “Fuji” Williams — have been added to the staff.
“It’s been pretty neat having these guys,” Hatcher said. “I love all of my former coaches but when you have guys that have played for you pretty recently and you call out a play they know the play and they know the drill. Not that those guys didn’t but it is also fun to see that your former coaches are now going on to be head coaches themselves. It’s pretty cool to see former players that you coached come back and coach the kids.”
Mark Hatcher’s Year-by-Year
Record at Logan:
2012-13 — 8-17 (Lost to Hurricane 64-58 in 3A regional final)
2011-12 — 17-9 (Lost 63-50 to Martinsburg in 3A state tourney)
2010-11 — 15-11 (Lost 64-48 to Morgantown in 3A state tourney)
2009-10 — 25-3 (Beat Wheeling Park 63-48 in 3A state finals)
2008-09 — 15-8 (Lost to Cabell Midland 71-54 in 3A sectionals)
2007-08 — 23-4 (Lost to Wyoming East 82-71 in 2A state semifinals)
2006-07 — 20-7 (Lost to Wyoming East 61-49 in 2A state semifinals)
2005-06 — 23-4 (Lost to Ravenswood 64-62 in 2A state semifinals)
2004-05 — 22-6 (Beat Westside 60-56 in 2A state finals)
2003-04 — 17-9 (Lost to Bluefield 42-40 in 2A state tourney)
2002-03 — 9-14 (Lost to Scott 48-43 in 2A sectionals)
2001-02 — 15-9 (Lost to South Charleston 40-35 in 3A regional final)
2000-01 — 4-18 (Lost to George Washington in 3A sectionals)
TOTAL: 13 years, 213-111, 2 state championships, 8 state tourney appearances
Logan High School Wildcats
2013-14 Boys’ Basketball Schedule:
Dec. 12: at Hurricane, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14: vs. Scott (at Chapmanville), 6 p.m.
Dec. 21: vs. St. Albans (at GW), 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 28: Cabell Midland, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 30: George Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 4: Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 10: at Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11: Point Pleasant (King Coal Classic at Logan), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14: Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 17: at Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21: at Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25: Greater Beckley Christian, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27: at Huntington, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30: Belfry, Ky., 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4: at Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 7: at Point Pleasant, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8: Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15: Tug Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18: vs. Winfield (at Charleston Civic Center), 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 22: Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 25: Parkersburg, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 27: at Capital, 7:30 p.m.
Logan Basketball Roster
NAME POS CL HT WT NO
Will Akers Fr. G 6-0 145 1
Kareem Clansy PG So. 5-8 140 3
Zac Acord PG Jr. 5-10 155 4
Zak Miller (C) G Sr. 5-10 150 5
Josh Rein (C) W Sr. 6-2 185 12
Alex Toler G Jr. 5-10 165 21
Brynden Street (C) W Sr. 6-0 180 30
Jalen Cook W Jr. 6-2 170 32
Ryan Miller W Jr. 6-2 175 34
Seth Barker P Sr. 6-6 230 42
Benny Adkins (C) P Sr. 6-2 190 44
Trevor Abbott W Sr. 6-3 175 50
Donnie Toppins P Jr. 6-4 190 54
Michael Allen P Sr. 6-6 255
Austin Conn G Fr. 5-7 140
Braxton Goff G Fr. 6-3 190
Brenton Vance W Jr. 6-0 150
Cameron Sammons W Jr. 6-0 180
Devontae Tolliver W So. 6-1 220
Hunter Neal P Fr. 6-6 225
Jamal Minter W Fr. 6-0 160
Jimmy Early Fr. 5-6 130
Joe Lowe G Fr. 5-7 140
Khalil Murphy F So. 6-4 165
Kyle Porter G Fr. 5-10 145
Matt Sells Fr. 5-2 115
Michael Workman Fr. 5-2 125
Noah Corbett W Fr. 5-8 145
Samual Justice F Fr. 6-4 165
Skyler Miller G So. 5-9 145
Trice Boatwright Fr. 5-7 135
HEAD COACH: Mark Hatcher