CHARLESTON — Abby Myers’ nerves had got the best of her.
Having never played in the state tournament before, the Logan High School junior guard had the butterflies churning in her stomach prior to Wednesday night’s game with Pikeview at the Charleston Coliseum.
She threw up twice in the locker room before the game.
Not a pleasant way to start off the evening.
But then Myers shook off the pregame jitters rather quickly, guiding Class AAA No. 6-ranked Logan to a convincing 61-30 win over the Panthers in the 3A quarterfinals and helped the Lady Cats advance to Friday night’s semifinals against top-ranked and undefeated Fairmont Senior.
Myers led fourth-seeded Logan (12-3) with 20 points in the win. She was 8 of 10 shooting and added seven steals and six rebounds. Peyton Ilderton also broke into double digits in scoring with 16 points for the Lady Cats.
Logan, just one win away from reaching the Class AAA state championship game for the first time in eight years, was scheduled to face off with No. 1 seed Fairmont Senior (16-0) in Friday’s state semifinals, for the right to advance to Saturday’s state championship game.
Logan coach Kevin Gertz said his team was able to get past the nervousness before the game.
“A couple of these ladies were not feeling that well before the game,” he said. “I told them that I had no problem switching up the lineup so they’d better feel better real quick. It’s basketball and not life and death. We go out and win, great, then we move on to the finals. If we lose, hey, we had a heck of a season but we are coming here to compete to win.”
Gertz then turned to Myers in the post-game press conference.
“Abbie, how many times did you puke before the game?” he said.
“Twice,” Myers said. “Right before the game. Once I stepped onto the court it sort of went away.”
Myers made several buckets on drives to the lane and only had the two misses.
“This game I hustled and made more shots. I put my whole heart into this game,” Myers said. “After all the nerves went away it was time to just go with the flow and take what they gave us.”
Defense is Logan’s strong point and it was on full display late on Wednesday night as the Lady Cats’ harassing D bothered Pikeview from the opening throw-in.
“We played hard and that’s something that we always do,” Gertz said. “Our main attribute is on the defensive end. We held them to 30 points. I’m very proud of them. We have three really good defenders. We don’t have the biggest kids but if you are going to score on us you are going to earn it. They shot as many shots as we did because we don’t rebound very well. That’s the weakest part of our game. If we want a chance to move on and play in the finals we’ve got to rebound with Fairmont. We shot maybe too many 3s and sat a little too much but we attacked the basket pretty good.”
Pikeview, which saw its season come to a close at 8-5, got 12 points from Hannah Perdue and 11 from Anyah Brown.
The Panthers were just 12 of 56 shooting for a frosty 21.4 percent. Logan made 25 of 55 of its shots from the floor for 45.5 percent.
Logan jumped out to a 10-3 lead early in the game and never looked back, taking a 12-5 edge after one and a 29-15 lead at the half. The Lady Cats held a commanding 48-21 advantage after three and led by as many as 32 points.
Gertz said it was an overall good effort.
“What we are going to do every single game is compete,” he said. “We’re not going to fear anybody but we are going to respect everybody. You can’t play this game or any game with fear. We were up 14 and I was hoping that it would be bigger than that but it wasn’t. We were in a little bit of foul trouble. We foul a lot. I just wanted to get through the half without nobody having three fouls.”
Pikeview coach Tracy Raban said the Lady Cats are very good.
“This was a tough one,” she said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and you aren’t going to win a ballgame shooting the way that we did. We just could not knock down the shots when we needed them. Logan knocked theirs down and put the pressure on Perdue all night. They (Logan) is very physical and very aggressive. I think that it shocked us a little. I don’t think we really knew how quick and how physical they were. We found that out real quick.”
The physical nature of Logan’s game seemed to be something the Panthers were not comfortable with.
“We knew they were physical but not to that extent,” Brown said.
Leading just 14-10, the Lady Cats then were able to break the game open.
Ilderton completed a three-point play then Tothe drilled a corner 3 as Logan led 20-12 with 5:48 left until the half.
Two Myers buckets later made it 29-13.
Logan led by 14 at the half and pulled away from Pikeview in the third quarter. LHS outscored the Panthers 19-6 in the third.
Ilderton said it was great to finally play in the state tournament.
Only seniors Jill Tothe and Raegan Quick had played in a state tourney game. That was their freshman years as Logan lost to Wayne in the opening round of the 2018 state quarterfinals.
“It was surreal because growing up we watched the older girls play and it’s something that you dream of,” Ilderton said. “Then you step out and do it. It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to since I was a little girl. To be here it’s awesome.”
Added Quick: “I came here my freshman year when we lost to Wayne so it was good to be back my senior year. I think we can go far. We have a lot of heart.”
Quick finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Tothe added six points on a pair of 3s for Logan. Harlee Quick had four, while Emma Elkins, Natalie Blankenship and Rylee Conn all had two points.
HONORING DEWEY CONN: Conn’s dad, Dewey Conn, a longtime official, passed away recently due to COVID-19.
Logan honored him on Wednesday night with the win.
“This was a very special day. Her dad Dewey Conn was a longtime official and had officiated in the state tournament,” Gertz said. “He died right before the season. Covid has hit the Logan area hard. We’ve lost a lot of great people and Dewey was a great Christian man. Today would have been his birthday, so we played this one for him. We’ve got 10 players, four coaches, a score keeper and a film person, but we had Dewey in our corner tonight as well. He was in our huddle every time and he was with us on the floor. Rylee got a big basket for him.”
Ilderton added four steals, four assists and five rebounds. Elkins had six boards.
Logan 12 17 19 13 — 61: Myers 20, Ilderton 16, R. Quick 9, Tothe 6, H. Quick 4, Elkins 2, Blankenship 2, Conn 2.
Pikeview 5 10 6 9 — 30: Purdue 12, Brown 11, Coburn 4, Craft 3.