It was a barn-burner.
That’s all that you could say about Tuesday night’s clash at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena between the homestanding Logan Lady Cats and the Westside Lady Renegades.
It went right down to the wire, as expected, as Class AA No. 3-ranked Westside prevailed 65-63 over Class AAA No. 8 Logan before a good crowd at LHS.
Westside, last year’s Double-A state runner-up and the state champion from two years ago, improved to 11-2 on the season with the win, while Logan, last year’s Class AAA state runner-up dropped to 10-6.
It was a battle between two of the state’s top players in all-staters Shayna Gore of Logan and Hope Lester of Westside.
Lester netted 34 points to lead Westside. Gore tossed in 33 points and sank five 3-pointers.
Logan played the game without 6-foot-2 sophomore all-state center Monica Mitchell, who reportedly was suspended from school this week. She could miss Logan’s next game as well.
Despite not having Mitchell to fill the middle and having a size disadvantage, especially in the paint, Logan made a game of it, leading by 14 points in the first half.
But it was Westside who stormed back, grabbing the lead for the first time with two minutes to go and then finishing off Logan in crunch-time.
Westside went ahead with 2:18 left as Faith Davis drove down the lane and put one down off the window as the Lady Renegades led 62-61.
Then with 47.4 ticks to go Davis split from the free throw line to make it 63-61.
Logan’s Hannah Adkins tied it up at 63 with a bucket with 37.5 ticks left. She was fouled but was unable to complete the three-point play as she missed on her free throw attempt.
Westside grabbed the rebound and then scored the eventual game-winning shot with a Kristin Hash bucket with 28 seconds to go as WHS led 65-63.
Logan had a chance to go ahead but Kyra Cline’s 3-point attempt was off the mark with 16 seconds remaining. The Lady Cats got the ball back but Gore was tied up for a loose ball underneath the hoop with 13.1 seconds left. The alternating possession went to Westside and Stephanie Brown was soon fouled with 11.4 showing on the clock.
Brown, though, missed the front end of a one-and-one. Logan snared the rebound and dribbled down court for a potential game-tying shot. The Westside defense, however, prevented Logan from getting a shot off and Megan Endicott was able to take the ball away and was fouled with 0.3 seconds left.
Endicott missed the front end of a one-and-one and the buzzer sounded as Westside walked away with another win over the Lady Cats.
Westside beat Logan for the sixth straight time. Last season, the Lady Renegades swept the Lady Cats in a two-game series, winning 64-48 and 61-48. Two seasons ago, Westside beat LHS 65-60.
Cline added 14 points for Logan. Lexi Hines, Ashton Spry and Summer Collins had four each. Hannah Adkins, Hannah Kolovich and Adriana Hererra had two each.
Davis netted 13 points for Westside. Hash and Endicott tallied eight each. Danielle Brown had two points.
The Lady Cats led 20-8 after one quarter, 33-27 at the half and 52-43 after three.
Logan coach Kevin Gertz said Westside is a very good team. The Lady Renegades, after starting out 9-0, narrowly lost 49-43 at Class AAA No. 1 and defending state champion Parkersburg South on Jan. 30 in an eye-opening score across the state.
“This is my 28th year of coaching and I’ve won as a coach six titles in different sports and I think this was the greatest game that I’ve ever coached in,” Gertz said. “I couldn’t be any more proud. That team right there, Westside, if they were Triple-A, has as good a shot of winning the whole thing as anybody. They just took Parkersburg South last week to a two possession game. Parkersburg South is thought to be head and shoulders above everybody else. They should be that way being undefeated and the defending state champs.
“We fought extremely hard right down to the final three-tenths of a second. We never hung our heads.”
Gertz said Gore and Lester put on a show.
“Lester is a heck of a player but we’ve got a heck of a player as well with Gore,” Gertz said.
Logan still found a way to compete without Mitchell.
“We knew that we were going to be shorthanded in size,” Gertz said. “We didn’t have Mitchell but she should be back mid next week. She is serving a school suspension and she will probably miss two games. We don’t play again until next Monday but tonight was about these kids who played. It was a super effort. They gave me everything that they had.
“Not only was that one of the greatest games I’ve ever coached the first game, the JV game, was one of the greatest games that I’ve ever seen. Our girls were down 20-6 and down 12 at the half and fought back to win that one.”
Logan jumped ahead of Westside 13-2 early after a pair of Gore 3-pointers and a Gore old fashioned three-point play.
Spry later hit two of three free throws after getting hacked on a 3-point attempt as Logan led 20-8 after one quarter of play.
In the second, Gore’s show-and-go drive down the lane made it 22-8.
Westside then responded with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Hash bucket with 5:48 left, trimming Logan’s lead to 22-15.
Lester’s 15-footer cut it to 27-23.
Gore then scored on another show-and-go dribble drive to the lane as LHS led 33-27 at halftime.
Westside continued to inch closer in the third.
Lester’s three-point play cut the Logan lead to 40-37. Gore then came back with a 3-pointer and a deep 3 from 22 feet out to make it 46-41 Lady Cats with 2:35 left.
Collins then put Logan on top 50-41 with a hoop and 2-of-4 free throws.
Hererra then swished two fouls shots in the closing seconds as the Lady Cats led 52-43 after three.
In the fourth, the Lady Renegades finished the comeback.
Lester cut it to 57-55 with 4:36 to go after back-to-back buckets.
Then with 4:19 left, Cline fed Kolovich for a nice hoop in the lane as LHS led 59-55.
Lester then buried a 3 and scored on a spin move as Westside trailed only 61-60 with 3:03 left in the game.
Westside then took the lead and won going away.
Kolovich, Logan’s only senior who stands 5-7, was pressed into playing center with the Mitchell’s absense.
“Kolo played the five and she fought like crazy,” Gertz said. “We also had to use Shayna more inside. We fought our tails off. Collins also gave us a boost. She stayed over in Morgantown after our game there for the weekend because she has a sister who goes to WVU. They were going to come back real early on Monday morning but she got caught in that freakish snowstorm. She hadn’t touched a basketball in three days but she played well. Lexi Hines and Kyra Cline played well. Kyra played on one leg night but gutted through it — the same with Hererra. It was Hannah Adkins’ first start and she played well, too.”
The season now heads into the stretch drive for Logan which has six games left in the regular season beginning with Monday’s home game against Greenbrier East. It will be Coach Gertz’s birthday as well.
LHS is then at Lincoln County on Feb. 12, and home against South Charleston on Feb. 15 in a makeup game.
Logan then finishes with three tough games in three days — Feb. 17 at home against Winfield, Feb. 18 against Class AAA No. 1 Huntington St. Joe at the Charleston Civic Center and Feb. 19 at Westside in a rematch of Tuesday night’s showdown.
“In a week and a half we’ll be better,” Gertz said. “But this playing without her (Mitchell) is going to make us a better team as we have to figure out other ways to win. I think come late February and early March we’ve got as good a shot to win as anybody. We’ve got the team to win it all.”
Logan is scheduled to have its Class AAA sectional Feb. 24, Feb. 26 and Feb. 28 at Huntington High School. The pairings have not yet been released.
Tuesday, March 4 is the regional tourney.