The Man High School girls’ basketball team beat the rival Logan Lady Cats for the first time in six years.
The Lady Billies held on to beat Logan 41-38 in the afternoon matinee before the Logan High School student body at Logan’s Willie Akers Arena.
It was the first win by Man over the Lady Cats since the 2001-02 season when the Lady Billies beat Logan 46-31.
“It’s been a long time,” Man coach Tonia Ward said.
What has followed since has been 11 straight losses to the Lady Cats.
But the streak ended Thursday, and more importantly, Class A Man stayed unbeaten on the season with a 4-0 record. Logan, fielding a very young team this season, dropped to 1-3 with the defeat.
The Lady Billies led by as many as nine points and never trailed.
However, Logan began to chip away at the lead behind the play of freshman Jessica Bias and got to within one point in the fourth quarter. But that was as close as Logan could get as Man went back home down Route 10 with the confidence-boosting victory.
“We were lucky to pull that one out,” Ward said. “We didn’t play great but an ugly win is better than no win at all. They hung in there and didn’t quit and that’s one thing that I say about these girls n there’s no quitters and that helped them win the game. It’s always hard to come down here to Logan and beat Logan.”
Ward said she’s thrilled her team is unbeaten after four games to start the season. Man’s young team has gained some experience since last year and appear to be much better than last year’s 10-11 squad.
“They’ve been together for a long time,” Ward said. “They’ve played together in junior high and now in high school. I only have two juniors and the rest of them are sophomores and freshmen, so we’ll be together for a few more years. They could be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years.”
With a nine-point lead in the third quarter Man seemed poised to put away the Lady Cats.
But it just didn’t happen at that point and Logan hung around to make it interesting at the end.
“We just weren’t handling the ball well,” Ward said. “Then we were throwing the ball away and we let a little bit of pressure get to us. We’re better than that.”
Man had a balanced scoring attack, led by sophomore Tabby Johnston, who netted 11 points. Junior Malorie Keffer had 10, Marlena Frye eight, Paige Stacy seven and Courtney Browning five.
Bias, a 5-foot-7 guard, netted three 3-pointers and paced Logan with 18 points. Rojet Lowe added 10 and freshman guard Erica Kelley had six. Megan Mitchell scored two and Leonnah Browning and freshman Faydra Martin had one each.
Freshman Briana Johnson, who poured in 23 points and led Logan to a 50-43 victory last Saturday at home over Herbert Hoover, was being disciplined by Logan coach Tim Cunningham and did not play.
“I had to discipline Johnson. She broke some team rules and I have a policy that if you break team rules I’m going to bench you,” Cunningham said. “I had to sit her down. I don’t care if we win or lose the game I had to do it. I was just talking to (former Logan Lady Cat) Lovarsha (Knox) and she said,