It’s been an up and down ride for the Logan High School girls’ basketball program over the years.
The Lady Cats have at times been very good.
They have also been mediocre, and at times, a dormat.
But nothing like last season had ever happened before.
Last year was a magical one for the Lady Cats as the Logan girls marched all the way to the Class AAA state championship game at the Charleston Civic Center after state tourney wins over Princeton (77-66) and Spring Valley (52-49).
Logan eventually lost in the state championship game to Parkersburg South 58-34 before 7,000 fans and a statewide TV audience on Network West Virginia.
Since it’s getting into the latter stages of October, basketball season is just around the corner. Practices for the upcoming 2013-14 season are set to begin in early November.
The Lady Cats, led by 5-foot-9 junior point guard and Marshall University recruit Shayna Gore, and 6-2 sophomore center Monica Mitchell, closed out the season last year with a 17-10 record and hope to do even better this time around.
The victory over Princeton was Logan’s first ever victory in the state tourney. LHS had made it to the girls’ state basketball tournament in 1924, 1976 and 2000 and lost each year in the opening round.
The win over Spring Valley knocked out the No. 2 ranked Lady Wolves (23-4), a team which ripped the Lady Cats at Logan during the regular season and then barely beat LHS 68-67 in the Class AAA sectional title game at Huntington.
Gore netted 36 points in the win over Princeton. Mitchell had a double-double with 18 points and 17 boards.
Then, in an iconic moment in Logan sports history, Gore fed senior Hannah Tothe for a game-winning 3-point shot in the Spring Valley game.
Logan coach Kevin Gertz has turned around the Lady Cats’ program in just a few short years. Just four seasons ago, prior to Gertz’s arrival as Logan’s girls’ coach, LHS struggled through a 4-17 season.
Coach Gertz was gracious after the defeat to South in the finals but proudly accepted the Class AAA state runner-up trophy.
“Hats off to Parkersburg South,” Gertz said after the game. “They were by far the better team today. But I wouldn’t trade my kids for any team in the state. They played very hard but were tight the entire game. But I’m so proud of them because they played hard until the very end. I know they are upset and I know that they are crying but I want them to go into the locker room and look at the big trophy that we are taking back and to look at what they have achieved. I’ve said it all week, but we were 144th in the state in the Power Index three years ago. Now, we’re number two. Nobody will ever be able to take that away from them. I am so proud of these girls. It should be about them and not me.”
Gore, Mitchell and Tothe were named to the Class AAA all-tournament team.
Gore and Mitchell, along with a strong supporting cast of players including Kyra Cline, Hannah Adkins, Summer Collins and others, are back for Logan this season. Graduated from last year’s squad are Tothe, Jenna Kimler and twins Kelsey and Katie Kirk.
Gore averaged 20 points a game last season while Mitchell averaged a double-double. Gore helped Logan advance in last year’s sectional tourney as she poured in 27 points in a 78-70 first-round victory over No. 3 Huntington. Logan later toppled St. Albans, 57-46, on the road in the 3A regional title contest.
The Lady Cats will be challenged with a difficult schedule this winter.
It all begins on Dec. 3 at county rival Man, a Class A state tournament team from a year ago. Logan then hosts sectional rival Huntington on Dec. 6 in the home opener before going to South Charleston on Dec. 11 and then playing defending Class A state champion Huntington St. Joe on Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. in the all-day Nationwide Classic at Chapmanville.
Logan’s schedule is filled with tough games.
The Lady Cats also have home-and-home games with 3A sectional rival Spring Valley and state powers Morgantown and Greenbrier East. East failed to make it to last year’s state tourney after being upset by Capital in the regional final.
Logan plays St. Joe a second time on Feb. 18 at the Charleston Civic Center and also has home-and-homes against 2A teams Westside and Tolsia, 3A Winfield and 2A county rival Chapmanville. The Jan. 11 meeting with Chapmanville falls in Logan’s annual King Coal Classic tourney.
Huntington St. Joe, 25-1 last season, has won the Class A state championship five years in a row. The Irish routed St. Marys 73-32, in last year’s Single-A title game.
The Lady Cats play Man a second time on Jan. 27 at home and also play Chapmanville on Dec. 30 on the road.
Logan’s other opponent this season is Lincoln County.
Logan High School Lady Cats
2013-14 Girls’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 3: at Man, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 6: Huntington, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11: at South Charleston, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 14: vs. Huntington St. Joe (Nationwide Classic at Chapmanville), 2 p.m.
Dec. 18: at Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 26: at Spring Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 30: at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 3: South Charleston, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 4: Morgantown, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11: Chapmanville (King Coal Classic at Logan), 2 p.m.
Jan. 16: at Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18: at Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 20: at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22: at Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 27: Man, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 28: Tolsia, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: at Morgantown, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 3: Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 10: Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12: Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 17: Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18: vs. Huntington St. Joe (at Charleston Civic Center), 4 p.m.