By Paul Adkins Sports Editor
February 26, 2014
In the Back to the Future trilogy of movies from the 1980s Marty McFly and Doc Brown found out that history had a way of repeating itself.
The Logan High School girls’ basketball team hopes history does just that this week in the Class AAA sectional tourney at Huntington.
The Lady Cats, however, hope to make one change.
If members of the Logan girls’ basketball team could hop into the Delorean and go to the future they would like to see themselves advance to the sectional finals this year and win it instead of being runner-up like last year.
Logan (12-7) is scheduled to open 3A sectional play tonight against homestanding Huntington (18-4) at 8 p.m. at the Huntington High School gym. The other Friday semifinal has No. 1 seeded Spring Valley (18-3) taking on the winner of Monday’s play-in game between Cabell Midland (14-4) and Lincoln County (5-14).
This year’s sectional matchups are the same as last season.
Last year, Logan upended Huntington, 78-70, and fell 68-67 to Spring Valley in the sectional title game.
The Lady Cats then defeated St. Albans in a road regional game before advancing to the Charleston Civic Center and marching all the way to the state finals.
Third-seeded Logan already owns a 62-54 early season win over No. 2 seed Huntington this season, and, counting last year’s sectional result, have beaten the Highlanders in two straight meetings.
Huntington has hit a wall late in the season, going just 3-3 after a 15-1 start. The Highlanders lost 53-49 at South Charleston and 78-70 at home to Spring Valley, before winning 46-30 at home over Cabell Midland and falling 53-52 at St. Albans. The Highlanders closed out with wins over Hurricane (97-66) and Beckley Woodrow Wilson (67-36).
Sectional favorite Spring Valley owns a 75-68 home win over Logan this season and enter post-season play on an eight-game winning streak. The Lady Wolves’ losses this season have been to Huntington (72-64), Huntington St. Joe (60-54) and Fairland, Ohio (72-66).
Spring Valley won 73-59 last Saturday over George Washington in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game.
Logan comes into the section ranked No. 10 in Class AAA. Spring Valley is No. 4, Huntington No. 5 and Cabell Midland is ranked No. 12 this week in the final prep poll of the season.
“We are in the same spot that we were last year,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said. “With the strength of schedule that we play and anybody coming out of our section will have a legit shot at going to the state tournament and possibly winning it. I think our section is that strong. We may not have the strongest region in the state but we do have the strongest sectional in the state. Everything is exactly the same in our section from last year — same matchups, same game times and same scenarios.”
It’s do or die for the Lady Cats.
A win again over Huntington and Logan advances to the sectional finals and the upcoming regional. A loss and the season is over just like that.
“If we win on Wednesday we are in,” Gertz said. “The only thing right now that I’m concerned with is that Wednesday game. Some people say, ‘Well, if you win this and win Friday you get a home regional.’ But the first game is the most important one right now. If you think about anything other than Huntington, they will knock you off. They are that good, especially at home.”
Mariah Harmon, Lexi Sheffield, Jordyn Dawson and Ericka Budd scored 10 points each to lead Huntington’s balanced attack in the meeting at Logan this season.
“They are a different type of team. They are smaller but their overall quickness is much better this year. They spread it out a lot more this year,” Gertz said of Huntington. “Last year, they had one person who they tried to get the majority of points from, the Evans girl. This year, four out of their top five scorers are probably three points within each other. That makes them a lot tougher to defend this year. They press a lot more with their pressure defense. It’s all about handling their pressure, running our sets, attacking the basket and trying to get them into foul trouble. If we can do that I feel that we are deeper than they are.”
Logan is led by all-state 6-0 junior guard Shayna Gore and 6-2 sophomore all-state center Monica Mitchell.
Also back are a group of players who were key in last year’s run, including: 5-5 junior guard Summer Collins; 5-7 senior forward Hannah Kolovich; 5-6 junior guard Kyra Cline; and 5-9 junior guard/forward Hannah Adkins.
Several other newcomers have also stepped into Logan’s rotation, most notably 5-8 freshman guard Lexi Hines.
Junior Aarron Ward (5-7), junior Adriana Herrera (5-7), 5-8 sophomore Ashton Spry (5-8) and others have also been key role players.
In the only meeting with Huntington this season, Gore led Logan with 25 points and eight assists. Mitchell had her usual double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Gertz said Hines has stepped up and other players have added to Logan’s depth.
“Lexi has stepped up and is our third-leading scorer. Kyra Cline is our fourth,” Gertz said. “They are both real close in point totals. After our four primary scorers we have a boatload of players who come in and really defend and rebound to make us a more complete team. I think we are a much better defensive team this year. We are also an outstanding offensive team, too. I think that we can put up points as good as anybody but we have to make sure that we can defend and rebound.”
Gore and Mitchell have both been outstanding this season. Gore, a Marshall University recruit, is averaging a shade less than 20 points a game. Mitchell averages double digits in scoring and rebounding.
“Shayna has a heck of a shot at winning Triple-A Player of the Year,” Gertz said. “She leads our team in scoring and assists and is one of the state’s leading scorers and one of the state’s best in assists. She is just under 20 points a game. In one game she only had one point and if not for that she would be over 20 a game. Monica averages 14-15 points a game but she went through a rough four-game stretch but still averages mid double figures. Her rebounding totals are out of this world. Lexi averages double figures and Kyra is real close. We almost have four kids who average double figures. Summer Collins averages about 5-6 off the bench. She led us in scoring one game when she had 18 points off the bench.”
Gertz said his team’s depth has helped his team be successful.
“Our depth is what wins us a lot of games,” he said. “It is what won the game for us against Westside. We wore them down and defended them well in the second half. That’s what I’m looking for on Wednesday night.”
Gertz said this is always an exciting time of the year.
“This is what we work for,” he said. “This season has flown by but everything that we have done has been geared toward the tournament. Our record is not much better but our strength of schedule is so much better than last year. We lost seven games but five of those seven have been by six points or less.”
Gertz said he likes the current tournament format. On the other hand, some people don’t like to see the sectional runner-up advance.
“I don’t like the old system,” Gertz said. “This allows for a better chance that the top teams will get in it (the state tournament). With our section having four teams in the top 10, already you are going to lose two of the top teams in the state when it comes to moving onto the regional. This makes for a better state tournament in my opinion. It gives more teams a chance to win.”
Gertz said he feels good about his team’s chances in the sectional but in the nature of the beast that March Madness is anything can happen and there’s always the unpredictability and the unknowns that seems to come into play.
“I feel that we have the strongest team in the section but we could go out on Wednesday night and play well and still lose because Huntington is that good,” he said. “We’re on the road and that makes it tough. Last year, a lot of people got behind our team at Huntington High School. We got there 15 minutes before game time because our bus broke down but that place was rocking already as we were walking in. That’s probably as good a reason as any that we won it. We had a great following. We’ve had a good following again this year but not as much as last year. I hope people will get excited and come out to support these girls because we need it.
“They have worked extremely hard and I think they have a heck of a chance to make it back to the state tournament.”
Ever since Logan rejoined the Triple-A ranks in 2008 the Lady Cats have had to hit the road every year for the sectional tourney, playing most of the time at Huntington.
Next year, history is going to change as the sectional goes to a rotating system and Logan’s Willie Akers Arena will play host to the 2015 Class AAA girls’ sectional tourney.
“That’s a long time in the making,” Gertz said. “I’m glad that we got people who have voted that way that will move things around.”
With the WVSSAC’s realignment coming up at the end of the 2014-15 season, Logan could be heading back to the Double-A ranks, Gertz said. Logan last played as as Class AA school from 2003-08 and had success winning state championships in boys’ basketball, baseball, softball and tennis.
“Next year, the way our school numbers are it might be the last year that we are in Triple-A,” he said. “I don’t know that for a fact but it may be. But that would be a heck of a way to go out, playing our last sectional at home, if it were our last year.”
Sectional favorite Spring Valley is led by junior forward Maddie Morris and junior guard Sarah Kelly. Morris tallied 20 and Kelly 19 in the game with GW in the MSAC finals, which was played at the South Charleston Community Center.
Kelly hit 4 3s on the night, while Morris added seven rebounds and four steals on just 8-for-24 shooting.
The Lady Wolves were beaten 52-49 by Logan in last year’s memorable state tourney semifinal at the Charleston Civic Center. Hannah Tothe supplied the game-winning 3-point shot in the final seconds. Logan then lost 58-34 to Parkersburg South in the state championship game before a statewide Network West Virginia TV audience.
Spring Valley coach Bo Miller said his team is ready for post-season tourney time.
“I think people know we have a program now,” said Miller, whose squad went 7-0 to claim the MSAC’s West Division and earn a spot in the title game. “We’re not just a one-year team. We are a program now.”
Brooke Heck added 10 points, six boards and six assists. Allison McGraw also had 10 points as she sank three 3s off the bench.
Class AAA Girls
Region 4 Section 2
At Huntington High School
Monday: Cabell Midland vs. Lincoln County, late.
Wednesday: Cabell Midland-Lincoln County winner vs. Spring Valley, 6 p.m.; Logan at Huntington, 8 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 28: Winners, 7:30 p.m.
Region 4 Section 1
Monday: Point Pleasant at Hurricane, 7 p.m.
Wednesday: Hurricane-Point Pleasant winner at St. Albans, 7 p.m.; Winfield at Nitro, 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 28: Winners at highest remaining seed, 7 p.m.
Logan High School
Girls’ Basketball Roster
No Pos Name Gr Ht
1 G Summer Collins 11 5-5
2 G Faith Damron 10 5-6
4 G Madison Trent 11 5-4
5 G Brianna Welch 9 5-6
10 G Sydnee Roberts 9 5-7
11 G Aarron Ward 11 5-7
12 F Adriana Herrera 11 5-7
14 G Shayna Gore 11 6-0
15 G Elizabeth Adkins 9 5-6
20 G Lexi Hines 9 5-8
21 F Hannah Kolovich 12 5-7
22 F Stephanie Curry 9 5-5
23 G Kyra Cline 11 5-6
24 F Hannah Adkins 11 5-9
30 G Ashton Spry 10 5-8
34 C Tomi Nelson 9 6-0
40 F Brigette Duncan 10 5-7
44 F Tayonnah Davis 10 5-5
54 C Monica Mitchell 10 6-2