CHARLESTON — Three players really stood out for the Logan High School basketball team in its Class AAA state tournament run last week at the Charleston Civic Center.
Those players were Shayna Gore, Monica Mitchell and senior guard Hannah Tothe. All three were named to the eight-person all-tournament team on Saturday night following Logan’s 58-34 loss to Parkersburg South in the 3A state championship game.
The three joined Spring Valley’s Madison Morris and Sarah Kelly, Parkersburg South’s Taryn McCutcheon and Keya Bartlett and Morgantown’s Leah Taylor on the squad.
Gore, a 5-foot-11 sophomore point guard, dazzled the crowds with her ball handling and array of basketball skills as she led Logan with 65 total points in the three games. She was 24-for-54 from the field shooting, including 7-for-15 from 3-point land, and was also 10-for-18 from the foul line. Gore added 10 rebounds, 12 assists and six steals. Gore poured in 36 points in the 77-66 first-round win over Princeton last Thursday.
Mitchell, a 6-2 freshman center, showed her post-up moves as well as her rebounding and blocked shot ability. For the tournament, Mitchell scored 41 points and was 17-for-35 from the floor and 7-for-14 from the free throw line. She hauled down 35 boards, dished out five assists, had 12 blocks and added three steals. Mitchell recorded 18 points and 17 rebounds in the Princeton game.
Tothe had shot of the tournament as she drilled a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to lift Logan to a 52-49 semifinal win over Spring Valley last Friday night.
For the tournament, Tothe scored 33 points and was 10-for-22 shooting, including 6-for-13 from 3-point land. She was 7-for-10 from the charity stripe and also had 13 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
A fourth Lady Cat, sophomore guard Kyra Cline, didn’t score that much but played outstanding defense in Logan’s two wins and helped shut down the leading scorers for Princeton and Spring Valley.
Gore was gracious in defeat following Logan’s loss in the finals.
“I got down on myself and when that happens the team watches and it comes back on me,” Gore said. “Parkersburg South wanted it more than us tonight. They have a good team. We just didn’t have it in us tonight.”
Logan had a hard time guarding Parkersburg South point guard Taryn McCutcheon in Saturday night’s title game.
Why, you ask?
It was her speed.
“We had a hard time guarding her,” Gore said.
Logan coach Kevin Gertz said his team did its best.
“I’ve seen players that quick but they run out of their shoes they are so fast,” Gertz said. “Kyra (Cline) again had the toughest task of all. She played her guts out trying to stay in front of her. If Kyra and I got in a foot race she might beat me half the time but she did a great job staying in front of her. We just didn’t have an answser for number 23 (Keya Bartlett, who scored 26 points and made seven 3-point shots).”
The Lady Cats often had to double McCutcheon and that left Bartlett open behind the 3-point arc. Many were wide open looks at the basket.
“We were so afraid of McCutcheon’s penetration that we were helping,” Gertz said. “We were taking a chance. St. Albans did that against us in the regional to try and take away Shayna and Monica, leaving us with a few wildcards and open looks.”
Gertz then looked out in the pressroom to St. Albans coach Scott James who was listening to the press conference with reporters.
“Scott, that doesn’t work,” Gertz shouted to laughter.
Lady Cats on TV
Saturday night’s Class AAA state championship game was broadcast on TV on Network West Virginia, which is available on Suddenlink’s Channel 2.
The WV Metro News team of Hoppy Kercheval and Fred Persinger, the radio voice of the state boys’ basketball tournament, had the call.
Playing before a statewide TV audience was something new for the Lady Cats and was great for the program’s overall exposure.
The Lady Cats played at home this season to record crowds against Morgantown and Greenbrier East and had good overall attendance for the entire roundball campaign.
About 4,500 fans were on hand in Saturday night’s finals.
“Being on TV is very special,” Gertz said. “They are going to go home and watch this. It’s a memory that’s going to last a lifetime. I know that it’s going to last for me. This is something that they are going to be able to show their kids and grandkids.”
Saturday night’s game was the final basketball contest for Logan senior guard Hannah Tothe. She said she has no intentions of playing at the next level.
“It was tough,” said Tothe in the post-game press conference with tears streaking down her face. “This is my last time playing because I do not want to play college ball. I wasn’t going to give up but it was hard for us to come back 20 points in one quarter. We came back 22 in one half but it was tough and it was hard not to cry and hard not to give up but I wasn’t crying until I came off the floor.”
One sore spot this year with the Logan players was their perceived lack of respect from the state’s coaches and media.
Logan played most of the season being unranked despite knocking off then No. 3-ranked Morgantown 64-61 in the regular season. The Lady Cats also defeated No. 3-ranked Huntington, 78-70, in the sectional tourney and downed No. 2-rated Spring Valley 52-49 in last Friday’s state tourney semifinals.
The Lady Cats reached No. 10 at one point in the coaches poll.
That has all changed.
With top players Shayna Gore and Monica Mitchell and others coming back next year, Logan will most likely get more respect in the rankings. Logan’s play on the state tournament stage has made people take notice.
“They are going to be ranked next year,” Tothe said. “They didn’t want to rank us this year. Nobody had any pride for us this year. And, my gosh, they are going to be back next year. We waited for all of the polls to come out this year and nobody would give us any pride. They are going to be there next year and I’m going to be there for them. I am going to cheer them on next year and when they win it I’m going to be in the stands.”