HUNTINGTON — Last March, the Logan High School girls’ basketball team made an improbable run, marching all the way to the Class AAA state championship game.
It had never been done before.
No girls’ basketball team from Logan County had ever played in a state championship game.
It was the Cinderella story of the state tournament and Logan players Shayna Gore and Monica Mitchell became household names throughout the state among prep basketball followers and fans.
However, there will be no such run to the Charleston Civic Center this year.
That’s because Logan’s post-season ended prematurely with Wednesday night’s stunning and disappointing 67-51 loss to homestanding Huntington in the Class AAA sectional tournament semifinals at the Huntington High School gym.
Even though No. 10-ranked and third-seeded Logan had a lower ranking than Huntington among the media and the coaches, many expected the Lady Cats to beat the Highlanders and advance to Friday night’s sectional finals for a possible rematch with rival Spring Valley.
Logan and Spring Valley also met up in last year’s memorable state tournament semifinals as the Lady Cats won 52-49 on a last second 3-pointer.
Many had hoped to see the Lady Cats and Lady Wolves play again.
It wasn’t to be, however.
Huntington, which lost 62-54 earlier in the season at Logan and fell 78-70 to the Lady Cats in last year’s sectional tournament, came into the post-season with the No. 2 seed and the state’s No. 5 ranking.
Logan closed out the season with a 12-8 record. Huntington, which had went only 3-3 in its last six games after a 15-1 start, improved to 19-4. The Highlanders move on to play surprising Cabell Midland (17-5) in Friday night’s sectional championship game, also at HHS.
Cabell Midland, ranked No. 12 in the state, also pulled off an upset on Wednesday by downing No. 4 ranked and top-seeded Spring Valley (19-4), 58-50.
So there will be no Logan-Spring Valley rematch.
Both are done.
The sectional field, pitting the four state powerhouses, was billed as one of the toughest, the most competitive and one of the best — if not the best — in the state.
Wednesday night’s shocking turn of events proved that point.
In each of the games, the winners avenged a regular-season loss in the time that mattered the most.
Wednesday night’s loss spoiled a brilliant performance by Gore, who poured in a career-high 43 points. She scored all of Logan’s 22 points in the second half. Other than Gore, the Lady Cats got little to no production from anybody else as Logan seemed to have problems with Huntington’s pressure defense, which forced 24 LHS turnovers, many in a backcourt.
The Highlanders were led by freshman Jordyn Dawson, who had 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine steals.
Mitchell was held to four points. Both Gore and Mitchell fouled out in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the season, Gore, a 6-0 junior point guard and Marshall University recruit, had surpassed Amanda Green’s all-time scoring record at Logan High School.
Kyra Cline had three points and Hannah Adkins one for the Lady Cats.
It was the final game for Logan’s lone senior Hannah Kolovich.
Logan led 14-13 after one quarter and fell behind 31-29 at the half. Huntington used a 17-7 third to grab a 48-36 after three, seizing control of the game with a 14-0 run.
Cabell Midland and Huntington are set to face off on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the sectional finals. Both will also move on to next week’s regional tourney. Cabell Midland, the No. 4 seed in the section, advanced with Monday’s 54-32 win over Lincoln County.
Wednesday night’s loss was a major disappointment and setback for the Logan’s girls, who will no doubt be back next season with almost its entire team in tact. LHS will also host next year’s sectional tournament at Willie Akers Arena in Gore’s senior season.
“We can’t win being a one-man show,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said after the game. “No doubt about it. I don’t care how many Shayna got. She had a career-high 43 points but we needed to get a lot more people involved. We turned it over too many times tonight and didn’t have enough chances to score. We also didn’t rebound tonight. They killed us on the boards. Dawson was the difference in tonight’s ballgame. Their kids outscrapped us. We just didn’t box out.”
Logan High School Lady Cats
2013-14 Girls’ Basketball Schedule (12-8):
Dec. 11: at South Charleston, L 59-63
Dec. 14: vs. Huntington St. Joe at Chapmanville, L 46-75
Dec. 17: at Tolsia, W 74-50
Dec. 20: Huntington, W 62-54
Dec. 21: vs. Shelby Valley, Ky. (at Belfry, Ky.), W 57-55
Dec. 26: at Spring Valley, L 68-75
Dec. 30: at Chapmanville, W 53-36
Jan. 4: Morgantown, W 59-44
Jan. 11: Chapmanville (King Coal Classic at Logan), W 65-35
Jan. 15: Belfry (Ky.), W 60-27
Jan. 16: Lincoln County, W 75-35
Jan. 18: at Greenbrier East, L 57-63
Jan. 20: at Winfield, W 74-60
Jan. 28: Tolsia, W 86-57
Jan. 31: at Morgantown, L 49-59
Feb. 4: Westside, L 63-65
Feb. 17: Winfield, W 88-57
Feb. 18: vs. Huntington St. Joe (at Charleston Civic Center), L 49-76
Feb. 19: at Westside, W 62-57
Feb. 26: at Huntington (Class AAA sectional), L 51-67