LOGAN — The Logan High School girls’ basketball team did not have a Senior Night last season.
That’s because the Lady Cats had no seniors on the team.
That’s good news for the Logan girls heading into the 2020-21 hoop season.
Logan has a lot going for itself heading into the new roundball campaign.
All five starters are back, including top scorer Peyton Ilderton.
The Lady Cats’ bench comes back in tact.
Throw in a pair of talented incoming freshmen, a returning player from two years ago, and junior transfer Abbie Myers from Chapmanville Regional High School, and Logan’s prospects look even better.
The Lady Cats look to improve greatly on last year’s 10-15 showing.
Logan ending up falling 46-44 loss to Lincoln County in the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 championship game, then were ousted 58-31 at Winfield in the regional co-final. Logan had routed Scott, 60-37, in the sectional opener, and then upset No. 1 seed and county rival Chapmanville, 39-37, in the sectional semifinals at Mingo Central.
Logan is back in the Class AAA ranks this year as the WVSSAC moves into the first year of a two-year pilot program which will spread out all the schools over four classes for the first time ever.
The Lady Cats were ranked No. 5 in the state in one Class AAA preseason poll.
Logan was scheduled to open the season on Dec. 3 at home against Poca, but West Virginia’s winter sports season has been delayed until Jan. 11 by Gov. Justice in an effort to slow the spread to COVID-19.
Coach Gertz and the Lady Cats will now have to wait a bit longer.
“I’ve not been this excited in coaching basketball in a long time,” Gertz told the Logan Banner on Thursday, a day before Justice’s announcement. “This is a great group of kids and they care about each other. They get along and they pick each other up which isn’t always the case with teams. This will carry them a long way.”
Just like last season, the Lady Cats lack height, but have plenty of quick guards and small forwards who can shoot, defend and take it to the paint.
“We’re going to be a very quick team and a very athletic team,” Gertz said. “We don’t have a lot of size but we will have some very good basketball players. It will be a completely different team. We will probably be 94 feet all game long. I’m excited about it.”
Gertz said he’s glad to have a veteran team coming back this season.
“We return everybody,” Gertz said. “And we’ve added two freshmen and a junior and a senior. The senior played with us before but didn’t play last year. I’m not saying that we are great but this is probably the most athletic team that I’ve had.”
This could be the most athletic team he’s ever coached, Gertz said.
“We have a great mix but not a whole lot of size. We are very quick and very aggressive,” he said. “This is probably the most fun that I’ve had coaching girls basketball because of our athleticism. We are changing the style of how we play. It’s been an all-defensive thing, up pressuring people and hoping to get turnovers. We are going to play mostly full court and a lot of man-to-man that we haven’t played in the past.”
Of Logan’s 13 players on the roster one theme seems to be a constant.
And that’s good for any basketball team.
“All 13 of our players are role players,” Gertz said. “They’ve all got jobs to do. One through 11, of what we have practicing at this point, is probably the deepest team that I’ve ever coached. We can play different styles. We can play different combinations. This is a next man up system. They are going to run in every two or three minutes and will try to stay fresh that way.”
Ilderton, a 5-6 junior guard and the team’s top scorer comes back to lead the Lady Cats this season.
She had a big year last season and was named First-Team All-Cardinal Conference. Ilderton averaged 21.2 points per game and was fourth in the league in scoring.
Jill Tothe, a 5-7 guard, and Raegan Quick, a 5-6 post player, are Logan’s two returning rising seniors.
Tothe, a top 3-point shooter, averaged 10.2 points a game last season and was Second-Team All-Cardinal Conference. Quick was named Honorable Mention All-Conference.
Emma Elkins, a 5-7 junior forward, is another returning starter.
Sophomore point guard Natalie Blankenship (4-11) also comes back. She started as a frosh last season,
Gertz said he also expects big things out of Autumn Adkins, a 5-9 sophomore.
Alyssa Goff, a 5-9 junior, also returns.
Myers expects to play a key role with the Lady Cats this season.
After the first semester last season, she transferred from Chapmanville to Logan but did not play with the Lady Cats. She was a spot starter for the Lady Tigers but was primarily used as the sixth man off the bench. A versatile guard, Myers can play the point and can also shoot from the perimeter. Her zippy passing skills has also made Gertz take notice.
Reyvin Cottle, a senior, is back on the team after taking last season off.
Incoming freshman Harlee Quick, Raegan’s little sister, will also contribute.
Tracsette Elmore, a freshman and Rayvin’s younger sister, rounds out the roster along with sophomores Brenna Buskirk and Rylee Conn.
Both Conn and Buskirk had been nursing preseason injuries.
Logan will join a new Class AAA sectional with Scott, Lincoln County, Wayne and and Huntington St. Joe, a former Single-A state powerhouse in girls’ basketball, which is jumping up two classes.