Poor free throw shooting ended up being the difference as the Logan High School boys’ basketball team was beaten 53-41 at home to Tug Valley on Tuesday night at Logan’s Willie Akers Arena.
The Wildcats (5-7) were just 5-for-14 from the foul line for the game and had six misses from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter as Tug Valley (10-2) turned a 36-33 lead into the 12-point win.
Tug Valley, which won the Class AA state championship last year and dropped down to Single-A this season, won for the third straight time over Logan. The Panthers swept the Class AAA Wildcats last season.
“It’s every game,” Logan coach Mark Hatcher said about the lack of good free throw shooting. “We’re shooting hundreds and hundreds of foul shots a week. We had six or seven days to prepare for this game and we’ve probably shot four thousand foul shots but then we end up 5-for-14.”
The Panthers, on the other hand, were 14-for-21 from the free throw line and hit several down the stretch in the fourth quarter to seal Logan’s fate.
“They did hit theirs,” Hatcher said. “They made theirs down the stretch. It was a great game and I have a lot of respect for those guys. It was a good night and there was a good crowd here. But if we keep playing hard and we keep playing as a team good things are going to happen to us.”
Logan only had one player reach double digits in scoring as sophomore guard Z. Minnick finished with 15 points. Worm Street and Chase Preston had eight each, C.J. Williams had five, A.J. Reynolds four and T.J. Tomblin one.
Tug Valley was led by Mikey Newsome, who poured in 22 points. Austin Brewer had nine, Aaron Muncy seven, Thomas Baisden six and Corey Dillon four. Hayden Sturgell had three and Austin Baisden two.
The Wildcats were able to keep the high-scoring Panthers in the low 50s and that worked in Logan’s favor. The Cats, though, were just not able to make any key shots down the stretch.
“We played pretty well on them defensively and they only hit one three tonight,” Hatcher said. “I think they only shot four or five all night long, so I thought that we did a really good job defending them. (Logan football) Coach (Gary) Mullins will tell you … you can scout and have all of their plays but you still have to make a play on offense and you still have to score. We’ve had a real hard time doing that.”
Tug Valley coach Garland Thompson said anytime you win in the Logan field house it’s a good one. A large contingency of Panther hands were on hand at the game and just about filled the upper deck scorer’s table side of the gymnasium.
“It’s a good win,” Thompson said. “Anytime you come to Logan and play and get a win it’s a good win. Logan had a little run there. Two or three guys hit some shots and got a two or three point lead on us. I was thinking, ‘Oh Lord, here we go.’ But luckily, we staved them off a little bit there and held them off. Mikey hit some big shots down the stretch at the free throw line. We also outrebounded them. We don’t do that very often.”
Ahead by just three points after three periods of play, the Panthers expanded the lead to 41-33 after a bucket by Baisden.
The Wildcats answered as Minnick hit a 19-footer with 4:46 left to make it 41-35.
Newsome, though, netted a 15-foot jumper and made four straight free throws to up the margin to 47-39 with 1:24 remaining.
Street missed two free throws with 1:12 left, opening the door for the Panthers to put Logan away.
They did just that.
Baisden split from the foul line with 58.8 seconds left to up the margin to 48-39. Muncy split with 41.5 ticks to go to make it a 49-41 ballgame. Brewer then put the win on ice with a bucket at the 25-second mark.
“We were 14-for-21 from the free throw line and we made a lot down the stretch,” Thompson said. “I thought Corey Dillon came in there in the second quarter and gave us four points right there to give us a spark off the bench. Aaron scored a few points. They were ready for Austin tonight so the rest of them stepped up.”
Tug Valley led 9-3 after one quarter and 20-16 at the half. The Wildcats outscored the Panthers 17-16 in the third to pull to within 36-33.
TVHS made it a sweep on Tuesday night as the Panthers also won the JV game over Logan, 55-54.
Both teams are scheduled to hit the hardwood again on Friday night on the same Logan floor in the Wildcats’ annual King Coal Classic.
The Wildcats are scheduled to play Belfry (Ky.) at 7:30 p.m., following the 6 p.m. girls’ contest between Logan and Class AAA No. 1 Greenbrier East.
The 9 p.m. nightcap has the Tug Valley boys taking on Class AAA unbeaten Greenbrier East.
“We’ve got Greenbrier East and we’re looking forward to that one,” Thompson said. “That team is coached by Jim Justice. I’m sure that they will be ready. We’ll come up here and do our best and we’ll see what we can do.”
Tug Valley does not return to the King Coal Classic on Saturday.
Logan is set to play Greenbrier East in the tourney on Saturday in a 6 p.m. tip time. The preceding game is a WVIAC contest pitting Fairmont State University and Davis & Elkins College.
The day begins on Saturday with the Logan-Chapmanville JV boys’ game at noon. Capital then takes on Tolsia at 2 p.m.