The Logan High School girls’ basketball team lost 50-48 to South Charleston in their 2012-13 home opener on Thursday night at Logan’s Willie Akers Arena but the Lady Cats showed at times they could play toe-to-toe with about anyone.
Still, Logan came up short against South Charleston, a usual Class AAA state powerhouse and a team the Lady Cats have had fits with in the past.
South Charleston (1-1) scored the eventual game winner with three seconds left as Alliyah Webb sliced and diced her way to the lane for a short bucket to put the Black Eagles up by two.
Logan quickly called time out with 2.5 ticks left and had one last chance to either send the game to overtime or to win it.
The Lady Cats inbounded the ball from underneath their own hoop but a long pass to half court went over Rachelle Toppings’ head and bounced past Kyra Cline to Shayna Gore. The sophomore point guard grabbed the ball and had to force a hurried 22-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer which fell short of the rim.
Logan dropped to 1-1 on the season with the loss which was played before a good and at times, loud, partisan crowd. The Lady Cats had won 61-40 at county rival Man on Tuesday afternoon in the opener.
“It was a heck of a ballgame,” third-year Lady Cats’ coach Kevin Gertz said. “But what I’m trying to get our girls to understand is that they are a very good basketball team. But I need them to believe. This program has been down for three years. It’s down in the community and it’s down in our school as what other people think of us. I’ve got a hard job of getting the girls to not listen to them.”
The Lady Cats led 15-12 after one quarter but were plagued by turnovers in the second quarter and fell behind 29-20 at the half.
Down by as many as 12 in the third quarter, the Lady Cats rallied, pulling to within 35-34 after three.
Logan tied the game twice in the fourth quarter — the last with 1:03 to go after Hannah Tothe drilled a 3-pointer to knot the contest up at 48.
Webb then spinned her way into the lane for the winning bucket for South Charleston.
“We really believed in the first quarter and we really believed in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter,” Gertz said. “But we lost our belief in the second. We had some turnovers and we thought, ‘Oh, no. Here we go again.’ It’s hard to change that. That’s my biggest job right now — to make them believe that every time we step out there on the court we’ve got a chance to win.”
Down a dozen, Logan made its move in the third quarter.
A 3-pointer by Gore made it 32-24 with 6:07 left in the third.
Then a bucket by Toppings finished off Logan’s 9-0 run as the Lady Cats clawed to within 32-29.
Gore’s 3 tied it at 32 with 57 ticks remaining and a free throw by 6-2 freshman center Monica Mitchell with one second left cut South Charleston’s lead to just 35-34 after three.
Logan stayed close in the fourth.
Another 3 by Gore tied it up 37-37.
Later, a trey by Tothe trimmed the deficit to 44-41 with 3:40 to go.
With 2:15 left, a layup by Toppings cut it to 46-43.
Two free throws by Kelsey Kirk put Logan to within 46-45 with 1:35 left.
“I’m so proud of the way that we came back. They could have laid down,” Gertz said. “We were down by nine at the half and they hit a 3 and we were down 12 on the first possession of the second half. We did not quit but we made a bunch of silly mistakes. But we also fought our tails off to get back. That’s all that I can ask of them.”
South Charleston held an advantage at the free throw line as the Black Eagles were 13-for-20. Logan was only 6-of-13.
“We’re an outside shooting team and we don’t take the ball to the basket enough,” Gertz said. “But it was a heck of a high school basketball game and I think that we’re on the rise. I’m not saying that we’re the number one team in the state but I think that we’re a top 10 team in the state.”
Tothe led Logan in the game with 13 points, while Gore had 12 and Kirk 11. Toppings added six points, Mitchell five and Jenna Kimler one.
Taleah Cashwell was South Charleston’s only double figure scorer in the game as she had 12 points. Webb and Lena Villanueva had nine each.
Logan is scheduled to return to action on Wednesday at Class AA No. 1-ranked and defending state champion Westside. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. The Lady Cats then go to Capital on Dec. 10 and Huntington on Dec. 13.
The next home game is Dec. 15 in a second scheduled meeting against the Capital Cougars.