It won’t be easy for the Logan High School basketball team.
The Wildcats are scheduled to play Belfry (Ky.) and Greenbrier East this weekend at Logan’s annual King Coal Classic at Willie Akers Arena.
Logan (5-7) is set to take on Belfry on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and undefeated Greenbrier East (12-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the tourney.
The Wildcats played at Belfry in the preseason and also took on Greenbrier East earlier in the season, resulting in a 60-53 loss to the Spartans.
Class AAA No. 4-ranked Greenbrier East, coached by Jim Justice, has not really been challenged much this season outside of the game with Logan and a few other contests. The closest anyone has come to the Spartans was a 61-59 game on Jan. 2 at Beckley Woodrow Wilson.
The Belfry Pirates, coached by Randy Casey, enter the King Coal Classic with an 8-6 record. Belfry destroyed district rival Phelps (Ky.), 85-31, on Tuesday in its most recent game. Belfry lost 93-65 on Jan. 19 at home against West Virginia opponent Hurricane, a team which downed Logan 67-60 in the season opener at Willie Akers Arena.
The King Coal Classic tips off on Friday with a 6 p.m. girls’ game pitting host Logan (8-3) and Class A No. 1 Greenbrier East (9-0).
After the Logan-Belfry game, the nightcap around 9 p.m. has Tug Valley taking on Greenbrier East. Class A No. 2-ranked Tug Valley (10-2) just came to Logan on Tuesday night and beat the Class AAA Wildcats 53-41.
There are four games scheduled for Saturday in the tourney.
The action gets under way at 12 p.m. with the Logan JV boys taking on Chapmanville’s JV team.
Then at 2 p.m., Capital faces Class AA No. 9 Tolsia (7-6) in boys’ action.
Also on Saturday at 4 p.m., there will be a college game as Fairmont State University plays Davis & Elkins College. Former Logan High School all-state player Stevie Browning is a freshman guard for Fairmont State.
The King Coal Classic then concludes with the 6 p.m. Logan-Greenbrier East boys’ game.
Logan coach Mark Hatcher said it’s going to be a great weekend of basketball in Logan.
“There’s going to be some great basketball,” Hatcher said. “We’ve got a lot of great matchups. The girls’ matchup is getting watched by everybody in the state. They are waiting to see what Logan is going to do that night.”
Belfry was led by Tony Messer and Brett Charles in the most recent win over Phelps. Messer ended up with 16 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Charles ended the game with 16 points, while Sean Hurley and Nick West each netted eight points.
“It’s a big game for us against Belfry. We need a win,” Hatcher said. “Belfry is a very good basketball team. We can win but we’ve got to be able to score some points. We’ve got to defend them, too. It’s a big game for us. When we played them in the preseason they were without a couple of their guys. It will be a tough matchup. Then after us it’s Tug Valley and Greenbrier East and that’s going to be a great basketball game as well.”
Hatcher said it will also be great to have Browning back in the Logan field house. Browning averages around nine points a game for Fairmont State.
“Saturday’s going to be fun, too,” Hatcher said. “We start out with the JV game between Logan and Chapmanville and then we have the Capital-Tolsia game which is going to be a huge game for both teams. The 4 o’clock college game will be a lot of fun to watch Stevie play again. Fairmont State is one of the top teams in the conference. We’ve got Greenbrier East after that and they are an awfully good basketball team. We thought we played them really well at their place and we’re looking forward to playing them again.”
The Logan floor is already equipped for a college game with the shot clocks above both backboards. A college 3-point stripe — a foot longer at 20 feet 9 inches as opposed to the high school standard of 19 feet 9 inches — was slated to be placed down sometime on Thursday or Friday.
A portion of the tournament proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House, the Logan Animal Shelter and the American Cancer Society.
All Logan Buddy League basketball players will get in free on Saturday (with a paying adult). There will be contests and prizes for all ages.
Finally, at the end of the third quarter of the Logan-Greenbrier East game on Saturday, some lucky fan will have one chance to make a half court shot (sponsored by Stollings Trucking Co.) to win $10,000.
This year’s Gold Sponsors include: Baisden Brothers, C&W Discount, Dan & Dave’s Sporting Goods, Fireball Trucking Co., Hatfield-McCoy CVB, James River Coal, Jeff McCoy, Jim & Melissa Frye, McDonald Land Company, Natural Resource Partners, Pepsi-Cola, Radio Shack, Southern Amusement, Stollings Trucking Company and WVOW radio.