HUNTINGTON — The mood was a bit subdued but not sad after the Logan High School girls’ basketball team lost in a 68-67 nailbiter to Class AAA No. 2-ranked Spring Valley on Friday night in the Region 4 Section 2 championship game at Huntington High School.
Why is that, you ask?
The Lady Cats are still alive, that’s why.
And the Lady Cats still have a good shot of making it to the state tournament.
Logan, which dropped to 14-9 on the season, will have to take its show on the road on Tuesday in the Class AAA Region 4 co-championship game as the Lady Cats are scheduled to play at St. Albans (14-10) which downed Winfield 30-27.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the St. Albans High School gym.
Spring Valley (21-3) got more than they bargained for against Logan on Friday night but will still host Winfield (12-12) on Tuesday in the other regional co-final.
A Logan win on Friday night would have given the Lady Cats a regional home game with the state tourney berth on the line.
It was close, real close, but it did not materialize.
The winners of the two games will advance to the Class AAA state tournament, set for March 6-9 at the Charleston Civic Center.
The Lady Cats are searching for their first state tourney berth since 2000. Logan has only made it to the state tourney twice in the school’s modern history of girls’ basketball in the post Title IX era with the other trip back in 1976.
Logan did not play St. Albans this season but seem to match up very well. Despite going on the road, the Lady Cats might go into the game as the favorite.
“They’ll be ready,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said of Tuesday’s big clash with the Red Dragons. “I got them in a little huddle out there and I hope that their weren’t any tape recorders or microphones, because I said a few choice things. I was upset at them when they were crying. I wanted it to mean something to them. You cry when things are over. I know they are girls and I know they are emotional. Heck, I’m emotional. But I told them, ‘You are acting like this thing is over. It’s just beginning.’ We’re going to make it in my opinion and I want them to be confident. I don’t think anything is going to be a cakewalk anywhere that we go but I think that we can win any game from here on out. I think that we can beat anybody in this state on any given night.”
For comparison’s sake, St. Albans played Winfield twice and went 2-0, also winning 53-50. Logan was 1-1 against the Generals but blasted Winfield 73-45 on Feb. 11 at LHS. That seems to be a good sign given St. Albans’ struggle to beat Winfield in Friday’s low-scoring game.
The Lady Cats advanced to the sectional finals and the region tourney with Wednesday night’s stunning 78-70 upset win over No. 3-ranked Huntington — a game which ended the Highlanders’ season.
Spring Valley won 57-47 over rival Cabell Midland and improved to 21-1 in its last 22 games since starting out the season 0-2.
Gertz said his team played their hearts out.
“They did,” he said. “I can’t ever get upset with the effort that they give. One is down because they made a bad pass and this one is down because she missed a layup. Everyone contributed to get us back into this ballgame. If they (Spring Valley) are not the best team in the state I think it’s between them and Morgantown. I’m taking nothing away from Greenbrier East. We played what I consider five of the best six teams in the state and we played them 10 times. Them and Morgantown are phenomenal. I’m so proud of our kids. I think that we are right there as well.”
Logan’s all-state sophomore guard Shayna Gore led the Lady Cats with a career-high 36 points. She also handed out 10 assists for a double-double to go along with five rebounds, five steals, four 3-pointers and a 10-for-11 performance from the free throw line.
Gore fueled Logan’s Logan charge with several big buckets and free throws.
“She’s unbelievable,” Gertz said. “In my opinion, she’s a first-team all-stater. She can get to the basket with anybody. She gets a little tired sometimes. That’s my fault. I can promise you next year, she will not be out of shape. None of them will. This is my third year coaching girls. I’m too soft of them. I scream and holler like I did with the boys but when it comes to conditioning I’ve backed off. It will not happen again. But I’m proud of him. She’s huge and Monica (Mitchell) is huge.”
Monica Mitchell, Logan’s 6-foot-2 center, also finished with a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior guard Hannah Tothe had five points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Logan also got six points from Kyra Cline on a pair of 3-pointers. Hannah Adkins chipped in with two points.
“Hannah Tothe came in and knocked in a big 3-pointer at the end,” Gertz said. “Kyra Cline played super defense and also knocked down a few shots. Rachelle Toppings had two or three big steals there at the end. She was upset that she missed the layup there late in the game. Big deal. We missed layups all night. It doesn’t matter. It looks magnified to her because it was at the end of the game.”
The game was not decided until the final seconds.
Tothe pulled Logan to within 68-67 with 31 seconds left after she buried a 21-foot 3-pointer from the bench side of the gym.
The Lady Cats then had their chances.
Gore was guarded closely and missed a 3-ball attempt from the corner with nine seconds left. The ball went out of bounds off a Spring Valley player and Logan got new life.
Gore inbounded the ball but it was stolen away by Spring Valley’s Brooke Heck, who was then hacked with 3.1 ticks to go. Heck missed both free throws but the second miss went off Logan’s Summer Collins out of bounds with 1.2 seconds remaining.
Spring Valley then passed the ball in and time expired.
Madison Morris battled foul trouble with four fouls but finished with double-double numbers of 22 points and 13 rebounds. Sarah Kelly also had a double-double with 12 points and 12 assists for the Lady Wolves.
Heck had 12 points, while Kassidy Lemmons had nine off the bench and Mackenzie Morris had seven and Jordan Ratcliff six.
Spring Valley was just 12-for-24 from the free throw line for 50 percent. The Lady Cats were 14-for-19 for 73.6 percent. Logan made 32-of-69 field goals for 46.3 percent.
Logan jumped on top 12-6 early on after a pair of Cline 3s and a Mitchell 10-footer in the lane.
Spring Valley rallied back to take a 16-12 lead before Logan went back up 19-18 after one quarter after Gore’s 3 and 17-foot pull-up jumper.
The Lady Wolves then went on a 12-3 run to grab a 30-22 lead.
Later on, Adkins pulled Logan to within 33-28 after netting two free throws with 2:58 to go.
Spring Valley, though, led 41-30 and went into the half up 42-32. Mitchell sat out much of the second quarter as she picked up her second foul.
Then in the third quarter, Logan rallied back.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Gore made it a 44-40 ballgame with 5:33 left in the stanza.
Logan stayed to within 48-44 with 1:39 left after a pair of charity tosses by Mitchell.
Spring Valley then countered as Lemmons drilled a deep corner 3 and Heck had a steal and score with 53 second left as the Lady Wolves led Logan 53-44 after three.
In the fourth, Logan continued its comeback.
Down 58-48, Logan trimmed the deficit to 58-53 with Gore’s old-fashioned three-point play and a drive down the lane.
Gore kept the Lady Cats within striking distance with four straight foul shots and a steal and layup with 3:11 left which closed Logan to within 61-59.
Gore’s lay-in with 2:48 left made it 63-61. She then split from the free throw line with 2:09 remaining as the Lady Cats trailed by only one at 63-62.
Mitchell later cut the Spring Valley lead to one at 65-64 with an inside bucket with 1:41 left.
Spring Valley led 68-64 after making 3-of-4 free throws. Heck then missed a pair with 40.8 left, setting the table for Tothe’s big 3-pointer and Logan’s upset bid in the game’s final seconds.
Logan now shifts focus to St. Albans and Tuesday’s regional co-final.
The Red Dragons were led by Breanna Propst, Lexie Cooper and Cameron Davis, who each scored eight points against Winfield.
St. Albans held Winfield scoreless in the second quarter. The Red Dragons won 46-32 over Nitro on Wednesday to advance to the finals.