Next season will bring change, not only for the Logan High School Wildcats, but for every prep basketball team in the state of West Virginia.
The WVSSAC moves to a four-class format for the 2021-22 season for the first time ever and Logan will be moving up again to the Class AAA ranks.
Logan was a traditional Triple-A school going back to its heyday of yesteryear but since 2002 has moved up and down from 3A to 2A.
The last four years, Logan had been a Double-A school.
Next season, however, Logan is back in Triple-A and will be in a new sectional with Scott, Wayne and Lincoln County in Class AAA Region 4 Section 2.
Opposite Logan in the other sectional, Class AAA Region 4 Section 1, and possible regional opponents are Nitro, Point Pleasant, Ripley and Winfield.
The last four years, LHS had been in a six-team Double-A super sectional with Chapmanville, Man, Scott, Lincoln County and Mingo Central.
“Obviously, our goal is to win the sectional and host a home regional game,” Logan coach Zach Green said. “That’s something that we haven’t done in the last four years. That’s one of our goals every year. Scott lost a lot of talent but they do have a lot of good, young players. Lincoln County I don’t think loses anyone from last year’s team. They were in and out of the top 10 last year. I’m not sure that it will be the level that we saw the last four years but this sectional will indeed be very competitive. We have to get to work and start preparing for those guys.”
Class AAA will be made up of eight sections for a total of 34 teams statewide.
In Region 3 Section 1, Independence, Pikeview, Shady Spring and Westside will make up the field with Herbert Hoover, Midland Trail, Nicholas County and Sissonville making up Section 2.
Oak Glen, Trinity, Weir and Wheeling Central is in Region 1. Wheeling Central, a Class A powerhouse for many years, moves up two classes. Secion 2 is comprised of Berkeley Springs, Elkins, Hampshire and Keyser.
Region 2 Section 1 has East Fairmont, Fairmont Senior, Grafton, North Marion and Philip Barbour in the field. In Section 2 are Lewis County, Liberty Harrison, Lincoln, Notre Dame and Robert C. Byrd.
A revamped Nitro team could be the team to beat in Class AAA Region 4.
Nitro was just 5-18 last season but have bolstered its roster with a pair of transfers from Sissonville in 6-foot-9 senior-to-be Joseph Udoh and 5-11 junior guard Bryce Myers.
Udoh, a native of Nigeria, joined Sissonville seven games into the 2019-20 season and averaged 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks for the Indians. Myers averaged 9 points and was second on the Indians’ squad with 28 3-point field goals.
Nitro also returns junior starters Kolton Painter (6-0) and Trevor Lowe (6-1). Painter averaged 22.3 points with 62 3-pointers as a sophomore last season. Lowe averaged 14.3 points and sank 39 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I saw that he (Udoh) moved and was adopted and with the addition of those players that could change the complexion of their side of the section,” Green said. “Where it was kind of wide open I think that will make Nitro the favorites on that side. They also have the two returning kids from last year, the two sophomores, who were two really good players and gave us a lot of problems. I think all of this puts them into a position to be really good next year.”
Green said he likes the four-class format and it’s much more competitive for many teams.
“It’s definitely going to be different,” Green said. “One thing that I do like about it is that it will give more teams an opportunity to get to the state tournament. You look at Single-A, which has been dominated by the Catholic schools for the last 20 years, you are going to see a lot of excitement with a lot of those smaller schools. They are going to have an opportunity to get there next year. I think that’s really cool how they are doing that. As far as we go, I’m not sure yet. No one has went through this yet so we’ll see how it works out. I think that it’s a good thing that they are trying to experiment and try to find a way to level the playing field. It will be a wait-and-see approach for us.”
With a new class and more games at the Charleston Coliseum, Green said he expects the state tournament to add an extra day and begin on a Tuesday.
“I would imagine that they will have to do that,” he said. “Start it on a Tuesday and they play out the rest of the week in a similar fashion.”
The Logan basketball team has been in the initial phases of practices but will enter the three-week practice period July 6-25.
“We’ll have a lot going on. We won’t be allowed to go play anywhere. We have already started our conditioning,” Green said. “We hope to be in full swing by that time.”