By Paul Adkins Sports Editor
January 7, 2014
The Logan High School boys’ basketball team has had its share of ups and downs so far in the 2013-14 prep hoop season.
Nitro seemed to be just what the Logan Wildcats needed.
Nitro, a team whose dubious distinction was a 60-point loss earlier in the season to Class AA Putnam County rival Poca, didn’t expect to give Logan much of a challenge or much of a game on Saturday night when the two teams met at Logan’s Willie Akers Arena.
It was all Logan from the opening tip as the LHS Wildcats dominated over the Nitro Wildcats 69-25.
It was an emotional win for Logan, which rallied behind Skyler Miller. The 5-foot-9 sophomore guard scored six points but most likely played his last game of the season for Logan.
On Monday, he was scheduled for further chemotherapy at Cabell Huntington Hospital to combat his leukemia he has been battling since last spring when he received his diagnosis after being hospitalized following an ATV accident.
Miller is also set to receive a bone marrow transplant soon in Columbus, Ohio, according to reports.
Miller scored his last bucket of the game with 17 seconds left on a drive down low to the paint, giving Logan a 69-25 lead — its largest of the game. Logan coach Mark Hatcher then took him out of the game and Miller received a standing ovation from the crowd. Even Nitro’s players, facing a 44-point deficit, stood and clapped for Miller.
“It was pretty emotional. It’s tough,” said Logan coach Mark Hatcher, himself a cancer survivor. “We want Skyler back next year. He’s such a fighter and the community fights for him with all of the prayers. This community has been great in getting behind people who have been sick or when tragedy happens. That’s what I love about our community.”
Logan improved to 3-3 on the season with the win. Nitro dropped to 0-4.
Brynden “Worm” Street led Logan’s balanced attack with 10 points.
Zac Acord had nine, while Jalen Cook had seven and Zak Miller, Trevor Abbott and Brenton Vance had six each. Donnie Toppings had four, Devonte Tolliver and Alex Toler had three each and Braxton Goff, Seth Barker, Josh Rein and Kyle Porter had two each. Kareem Clansy had one point.
Michael Heidenreich led Nitro with eight points.
Logan jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter and led 23-2 after one.
The rout was on.
LHS outscored Nitro 16-9 in the second quarter to grab a 39-11 halftime lead. Logan outpointed Nitro 10-3 in the third to go up 49-14. LHS outpointed Nitro 20-13 in the fourth.
The Wildcats made it 20-0 in the first after Street’s layup. He scored all 10 of his points in the first period.
Toler’s 3-pointer later made it 23-2 with 10 seconds left.
In the second quarter it was more Logan.
Acord’s layup pushed the margin to 25-4. Toppings then scored a bucket in the paint to make it 28-8.
Zak Miller’s 3 later widened the margin to 31-8.
With two minutes to go until halftime, Toppings scored on a layin to make it 33-8.
Then in was a layup by Acord and a Tolliver fadeaway jumper that made it 37-10. Abbott then drained two free throws as Logan led 39-11 at the break.
In the third, Nitro was held to only three points and no field goals.
Vance gave Logan a 47-12 cushion with a jumper. It was 49-14 after three.
In the fourth, a 17-foot jumper by the 6-foot-6 Barker made it 50-14, Logan’s largest lead of the night.
The lead continued to swell.
Goff hit a 13-footer to make it 52-14. Later on, Cook’s 3 pushed the lead to 61-20.
Skyler Miller then scored his second basket of the night and put the finishing touches on the win with a hoop at the 2:30 mark, giving LHS a 65-25 lead.
Porter then went high off the window to give LHS a 67-25 lead, the final margin of the game.
Hatcher said his team played well.
“They were ready to play,” he said after the game. “We’re not a real fiery team but we play hard and take care of each other. The emotion has not been there but with this it has brought them all together. They were ready to play tonight.”
The Wildcats are scheduled to return to action this Friday night at Westside. Logan then plays host to Point Pleasant on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in the King Coal Classic. The Logan girls play Chapmanville at 6 p.m. in the KCC preceding game.
There will also be a college women’s game at the King Coal Classic on Saturday afternoon at 4 with Fairmont State taking on Concord.