LOGAN - Was it a statement win by the Logan High School basketball team? Maybe.
Have the Wildcats established themselves as a state championship contender? Most definitely.
Class AA No. 3-ranked Logan nailed down that point with Wednesday night's resounding 86-55 win over 3A Capital at Logan High School's Willie Akers Arena.
The Wildcats improved to 8-1 on the season with the win, while Capital, coming off a disheartening 90-84 overtime loss at Beckley Woodrow Wilson on Saturday night, dropped to 4-3.
Logan jumped on its old Class AAA rival early, racing out to a 19-2 lead midway into the first quarter and never let off the gas pedal.
All-State junior David Early, the reigning Cardinal Conference scoring champion and the current league leader, led the way for Logan as he poured in a game-high 31 points, draining five 3-pointers.
Logan's 6-foot-10 senior center Peter Noe also had a big night for the Wildcats, turning in perhaps his best game in his prep career as he had a double-double game with 14 points and 21 rebounds. Noe threw down two dizzying dunks during the game, putting down an alley-oop slam on a feed from Drew Hatfield early in the third quarter, then rocking the rim with authority on a driving one-handed dunk late in the third quarter.
Hatfield had a double-double as well with 12 points and 12 assists for Logan, also hitting a pair of 3s.
Karrington Hill led Capital with 15 points and was the only Cougar to reach double digits in scoring.
Logan led by as many as 41 points, and held leads of 29-7 after one, 45-24 at the half and 74-33 after three. Logan coach Zach Green then elected to empty his bench in the fourth quarter.
Green said it was an impressive win by his team over a good Triple-A opponent.
"With the long layoff for the holidays I really think that the guys were really hungry to start playing," he said. "I was really really proud of our effort here tonight. The effort on the defensive end set the tone to what we did offensively. As long as we keep our intensity and effort on the defensive end where it was tonight we're going to be really hard to beat."
For Capital, it was a disappointing loss. The Cougars simply could not match Logan's intensity or defensive pressure.
"They are very well coached and they did a great job," Capital coach Matt Greene said. "Defensively, they took us out of our game, got deflections and had their hands on the ball. They created turnovers in the half court and when you do that it's tough to score. We're just not competing right now. We have some internal problems with our players and our coaches. We have to compete and when you don't compete this is what happens."
Green said it was good to see Noe step up. Noe only played for the second part of last season for the Wildcats, which were beaten in the Class AA Region 4 co-finals by Winfield.
"It was a big night for Peter," Green said. "Peter deserves this. He works hard. He's getting better every single day and every single practice. We're really excited to see where he could be back by the end of the season."
Green said Early was his typical self.
Midway through the first quarter Early teammed up with Noe on a rare five-point play. Early netted a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled. He then stepped to the foul line to try and complete a four-point play but the free throw clanged off the rim. Noe, however, was there for the putback, completing Logan's five-point trip and putting the Wildcats up 16-2 with 4:25 left in the opening period.
The rout was on there after.
Early later connected on a 3-point shot from about 25 feet out.
"That's what David does. He's a scorer," Green said. "I thought that he took some pretty good shots tonight. Typically he will take a bad shot or two but tonight his shot selection was really good. He didn't live on the 3-point line and he got to the basket some. He made the spin move down the lane about three or four times. I'm really proud of what David did tonight."
Logan has certainly not shied away from difficult competition this season.
Going into Wednesday's Capital game, the Wildcats had already played two Triple-A teams in Morgantown and Beckley Woodrow Wilson over the holiday break, falling to the Mohigans and then beating the Flying Eagles in the Morgantown Holiday Tournament.
Capital is one of five Class AAA opponents on Logan's schedule this season as the Wildcats have games against George Washington (January 26 at Logan's King Coal Classic) and South Charleston (February 4 in the Little General Shootout at West Virginia State University) yet to come.
Logan upped its winning streak to four games with the win. The Wildcats' lone defeat this season was the 49-39 setback to Morgantown on December 21.
Green said the tough competition can only make the Wildcats better come tournament time in March.
"This is what we want to do. We want to challenge our guys," he said. "Capital is a good basketball team. They didn't exactly show really how good they are tonight. I think that was due to our intensity on the defensive end. We were really able to shut them down defensively. We talked about switching to some zones but our man-to-man defense was so good tonight that we didn't have to do that."
Chucky Felder added eight points for Logan, while Tanner Lambert had seven. Mitchell Hainer and Devin Hatfield tossed in five each and Peyton Adams tallied four points.
"This is what we've got to have out of those guys," Green said. "For us to be a state championship team or state tournament level of team every guy that comes out there on the floor has to produce and give us something and they have. We're proud of those guys."
KJ Figures and Jay Fannin netted eight each for Capital. Ethan Kent had seven, KJ Taylor four, Cavonte Duncan three and Tayon English and Zimari Helm had two apiece.
Logan only shot one free throw for the night, the miss by Early which led to Noe's stickback and five-point play. Capital was 5 of 12 for 42 percent.
Logan is scheduled to return to the hardwood on Friday night at home against Herbert Hoover in a Cardinal Conference matchup. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. The Wildcats then travel to Wayne on Saturday night and host Nitro on January 15 in another key league matchup.
Capital is slated to host Parkersburg on Friday in a 7:30 tip and then play host to Spring Valley on January 15.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018-19 Logan High School
Boys' Basketball Schedule (8-1, 4-0):
Dec. 7: *at Sissonville, W 101-63
Dec. 8: *Wayne, W 84-36
Dec. 14: *Scott, W 78-48
Dec. 18: *at Mingo Central, W 82-45
Dec. 21: vs. Morgantown at Morgantown Holiday Tournament, L 39-49
Dec. 22: vs. Beckley at Morgantown Holiday Tournament, W 77-76
Dec. 28: vs. Pikeville, Ky. (at Mountain Schoolboy Classic at Belfry, Ky., W 70-62
Jan. 7: at Man, W 67-32
Jan. 9: Capital, W 86-55
Jan. 11: *Herbert Hoover, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12: *at Wayne, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15: *Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 22: *Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25: vs. Philip Barbour (King Coal Classic), TBA
Jan. 26: vs. George Washington (King Coal Classic), TBA
Jan. 28: *Poca, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31: *at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 4: vs. South Charleston (Little General Shootout at WV State), 8:45 p.m.
Feb. 5: *at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8: *Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18: Man, 7:30 p.m.
*Cardinal Conference game