LOGAN — It will be a lonely bench this season for Kevin Gertz and the Logan High School girls’ basketball team.
With only 11 players out for the team this season, Logan will have to utilize the players that they’ve got and that includes the group of incoming freshmen.
But that doesn’t mean Logan is short on talent.
With sophomore guard, leading scorer and Class AA Second-Team All-State selection Peyton Ilderton coming back, along with junior shooting guard Jill Tothe, Logan still hopes to produce a good season.
Logan went 15-10 last year and missed making the state tournament by one game as the Lady Cats were beaten 42-33 at Wayne in one of the two Class AA regional co-championship games. Logan beat Lincoln County, 50-41, in the sectional semifinals, then lost 52-40 to Cardinal Conference champion and county rival Chapmanville in the sectional title game.
Ilderton was also a First-Team All-Cardinal Conference pick by the coaches, while Tothe was on the Second Team.
Ilderton was fourth in the conference in scoring last season at 20.8 points per game. Tothe was 10th (11.9).
Gertz said he expects Ilderton to have another big season.
“She earned a lot of post-season awards last year,” he said. “She was our leading scorer. She’s a tremendous player and a tremendous worker. She remind me a lot of Shayna Gore as far as how hard she works. She was also our best defender last year.”
Logan also starters Britney Welch (11.2) and Kaileah Williams to graduation, along with Alexis Perry and Zoe Browning.
Logan’s lone senior on the roster is forward Alexis Dingess, a first-year player from a year ago.
Tothe heads Logan’s junior class.
“She’s had two sensational years with us,” Gertz said. “She’s going to have to step up this year and take on more of a leadership role than she has in the past.”
Raegan Quick, a junior starter and post-player, also returns.
“She’s played three years as well,” Gertz said. “She’s not the tallest person but she will fight you until the end and I love that.”
Logan also returns sophomore forward Emma Elkins, who is coming back from an injury.
“Emma did a really good job for us in the preseason last year but was down after the first couple of season with an injured elbow,” Gertz said. “She then missed the rest of the year. So it’s almost like her being a freshman again as far as experience goes. Emma is growing a lot. She’s one of our tallest players which isn’t saying much because we don’t have any height. She handles the ball like a guard. She will play a lot in the post but she’s also a really good shooter. She’s had a tremendous preseason this year.”
The Lady Cats welcome four incoming freshmen, three of which came from Logan Middle School.
Natalie Blankenship is one of those.
“Natalie is small but she’s a strong player,” Gertz said. “She’s a very good ball-handler and has a very high motor. We expect big things from her this year. With our low numbers she will have to step up and take over a big role on defense. She’s also a tremendous scorer and shooter. She’s an all-around player and will be a very fun player to watch.”
Autumn Adkins, another freshman, also figures into the Lady Cats’ plans.
“Her dad Randall is the Logan Middle School coach,” Gertz said. “She’s a very fine player. She’s got some height on her and again she’s one of our taller players but she’s a guard.”
Rylee Conn, another frosh, has been a surprise, Gertz said.
“She’s shot the ball unbelievable. She’s a post player but I didn’t realize she had the range that she has,” Gertz said. “She’s a strong, physical girl. She’s going to be thrown into the mix as well. I’m not sure that she’s aware of her abilities but she’s big a real big surprise. I think that she’s going to do a good job for us in her career here.”
Freshman Brenna Buskirk, who Gertz calls a “military brat,” is new to the Lady Cats’ program and LHS this year.
“Her dad graduated from here but he was a military guy and bounced from base to base all over the United States,” Gertz said. “He’s retired now and come back home. She’s lived in so many places. She’s a freshmen but she is so smart. She’s taken so many advanced math classes in her life. She’s an extremely bright kid and is very athletic. She’s learning our style of basketball so she’s a bit behind but the way that she works I don’t think that it will take long for her to catch up.”
Tiffany May, a junior and first-year LHS player, is also out for the team this winter.
“She has never played before. She’s a soccer player and is a very good athlete,” Gertz said. “She had a knee injury in soccer and is going to try to work her way back. It’s going to be a long road for her but I’m glad that she’s with us.”
Logan is scheduled to open the season on Dec. 6 at home against county the sectional rival Man.
As always, the Lady Cats play a rigorous schedule within the Cardinal Conference.
Home-and-homes with sectional foes Man and Lincoln County, a home-and-home with Belfry, Ky., and a single game against Independence dot the schedule.
Logan also takes on River View again in the Little General Shootout on Feb. 10 at West Virginia State University.
Also new this year is Logan’s two-day, six-game classic set for Jan. 3-4 at Willie Akers Arena. Logan plays Scott the first night, then Class AAA George Washington the next evening.
“We are very excited about that this year,” Gertz said. “We played for many years in the King Coal Classic. But now we are having an all-girls weekend on January 3 and 4. There will be middle school games as well. We will play Scott on that Friday night with two high school games before us. Then on Saturday we’ll be playing George Washington. We will be the last of six games.”
Logan once again plays in the same six-team Class AA sectional with Chapmanville, Man, Scott, Mingo Central and Lincoln County.
2019-20 Logan High School
Girls’ Basketball Schedule:
Dec. 6: Man, 7 p.m.
Dec. 9: *at Herbert Hoover, 7 p.m.
Dec. 12: *at Wayne, 7 p.m.
Dec. 14: at Belfry, Ky., 7 p.m.
Dec. 19: Lincoln County, 7 p.m.
Dec. 30: *at Mingo Central, 7 p.m.
Jan. 3: *Scott, 7 p.m.
Jan. 4: George Washington, 8 p.m.
Jan. 6: at Lincoln County, 7 p.m.
Jan. 9: *Sissonville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 13: Belfry, Ky., 7 p.m.
Jan. 16: *at Nitro, 7 p.m.
Jan. 20: *at Poca, 7 p.m.
Jan. 23: *Chapmanville, 7 p.m.
Jan. 27: *at Scott, 7 p.m.
Jan. 30: *Wayne, 7 p.m.
Feb. 3: *at Chapmanville, 7 p.m.
Feb. 6: at Man, 7 p.m.
Feb. 10: vs. River View (at West Virginia State), 11:30 a.m.
Feb. 13: *Winfield, 7 p.m.
Feb. 17: *Mingo Central, 7 p.m.
Feb. 19: at Independence, 7 p.m.
*Cardinal Conference game