LOGAN, W.Va. — There’s plenty of storylines for Friday night’s huge county showdown game between the Chapmanville Regional and Logan High School boys’ basketball teams.
Take your pick.
The Wildcats and Tigers haven’t played each other in six years so there will be a newness and freshness to the rivalry, which was shelved at the end of the 2010-11 season.
The game pits two of the top-ranked Class AA teams in the state of West Virginia as Class AA No. 9-ranked Logan (6-3 overall and 5-1 in the Cardinal Conference) hosts No. 5 Chapmanville (9-3, 5-0).
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena.
Since Logan and Chapmanville are now in the same Class AA sectional, along with Mingo Central, Scott and Lincoln County, there will also be seeding implications for the upcoming tournament.
There’s of course, the bragging rights that goes along for the winner and that will be big.
The game also pits for the first very first time a coaching matchup between Logan first-year mentor Zach Green and Chapmanville’s second-year man Brad Napier.
Napier and Green have a history, both being former assistant coaches at Logan under Mark Hatcher.
Green transferred from Scott High School to Logan for his senior season in 2004 along with his brother Lou and helped the Wildcats reach the state tournament for the first time since 1995. On Hatcher’s staff that year and coaching Green was none other than Napier.
If that is not enough there’s also the historical implications.
It’s been some 60 years since Chapmanville last beat Logan in a varsity basketball game.
The two rivals played each other regularly from 2002-11 and Logan won all 21 meetings, including post-season victories in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Another storyline is the excitement and buzz the game has created. It’s been talked about and Tweeted about for weeks and it’s a game that has been circled on the calendar for a long time by Wildcat and Tiger fans.
Attendance has been down over the last few years at the field house as Logan has suffered three losing seasons in the last four years, but drawing fans won’t be a problem tonight. The game is expected to draw a huge crowd, possibly a sellout, so fans are urged to arrive early.
“It should be an exciting game,” Coach Napier said. “It should be a hard fought battle. We expect it to be a close game and we expect to get their best shot. We hope to have a good effort as well.”
Since the six-year hiatus has been in effect, Napier said some of his players don’t know the historical nature of the county rivalry.
“Our guys have played in a lot of big games but they haven’t played Logan in a varsity basketball game,” he said. “The community and the older people know the rivalry but the kids haven’t experienced it yet.”
Green said his Wildcats are pumped about the game.
“Any time you play a rival game like this and there’s been a lot of build-up toward this game with both teams being ranked and having not played the series in a long time there’s a lot of anticipation,” Green said. “We’re excited to play.”
The Tigers enter the game on a roll. Chapmanville has won four straight games after a 1-2 showing over Christmas break in the Daytona Beach Sunshine Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla. The Tigers are coming off Tuesday’s convincing 85-60 win at home over Nitro.
“We’ve really played well the last three or four games,” Napier said. “We’ve been a lot sharper on offense. Our ball movement has been great. We had 30 assists the other night. I’ve never coached a team that had 30 assists in a game and that was against a pretty good Nitro team. We’ve also been playing pretty solid on the defensive end.”
Chapmanville is led by 6-foot-3 junior guard Drew Williamson, who averages 19.3 points a game to pace the team. He’s fourth in the Cardinal Conference in scoring.
Williamson reached 1,000 points for his career in last Saturday’s 69-48 win at Wayne. He netted 29 points and sank six 3-pointers in the Nitro game. Williamson nearly reached a triple-double as he also had 10 assists and eight rebounds.
“Drew’s a scorer,” Napier said. “He’s been a scorer since his freshman year. He can score from anywhere on the floor. There’s not a lot of kids that can do that. He can also post up and score as well as hitting the deep shots. He can put it on the floor and drive and he’s also a good foul shooter. This is what makes him such a dangerous player. He’s done a lot better this year on defense and has improved.”
The Tigers are also led by junior guard Dylan Smith, who averages 10.7 points a game.
Down low Chapmanville has 6-7 Hunter Neil, 6-8 freshman and Nigerian import Obinna Killen and 6-5 Tyler Moore.
Chapmanville also has another top guard in Kyle Browning.
Smith tossed in 17 points and Neil 14 for the Tigers in the Nitro game.
CRHS also has depth with Phillip Mullins, James Ellis, Devin Collins and a host of other players who have stepped up.
Logan is led by 6-3 freshman guard David Early, who averages 20.8 points a game and is second in scoring in the Cardinal Conference.
Senior guard Will Akers (11.8 ppg) and 6-5 center Dino Noe (11.0) have also been key to the Wildcats’ success, along with Jamal Minter.
Logan hopes to have injured players Braxton Goff and T.J. Mullins back tonight. Goff, a starter last year and a 6-4 senior guard/forward, injured his foot during the preseason and has not yet seen any court time.
The Wildcats are also on a hot streak heading into the game with four straight wins over Poca (52-50), Wayne (64-42), Westside (62-57) and Nitro (72-59).
“Logan has a lot of talent,” Napier said. “They have a good bunch of kids who are big, athletic and strong. They have a lot of kids that can do different things to hurt you. They are pretty experienced as well, guys like Jamal Minter, Will Akers and Braxton Goff. Those guys have played a lot of basketball.”
Green said Chapmanville has a solid team.
“You look on paper and they have all the tools,” Green said. “They have really good guards. They have Drew Williamson, of course, and he’s a great 3-point shooter. You look inside and they start guys 6-8 and 6-7. Both of those guys really rebound the ball well. They’ve got guys that come off the bench and really rebound the ball well. We really feel like keeping them off the boards and holding them to one shot is going to be the key to us to win.”
Green said it’s also a big game as far as sectional seedings are concerned as well.
“This is a really big game,” he said. “We’re kind of in a tough spot because the second game with Mingo Central game will be after the seedings are done. So these two Chapmanville games are really going to be important to us. We need to win at least one of those two if we want to have a chance at getting the top spot. Regardless, I told our guys that our goal is to win a state championship.”
Green said Goff and Mullins will both likely dress for tonight’s game but will not be at 100 percent.
“They have been been cleared,” Green said. “They will both be available but I’m not sure how much they will be able to play. Braxton and T.J. have both practiced the last couple of days. Neither of them will be at 100 percent. We’re focued on February and March and we’re not going to put them in a spot that it might cost them in the long run. If they are able to go and feeling good we’ll get them out there. If not, we’ll try to focus on getting them healthy.”
Napier said Green will do a fine job in his tenure at Logan.
“I coached at Logan when Zach played, so that tells you how old I am,” Napier joked. “Zach’s done a great job with them and he’s going to have a great future in coaching. He’ll do great things with that program. He was a great player. It will take you a year or two as a head coach to get the feel to what you want your program to be about. I think that he’s going to put his stamp on the program the rest of this year, next year and going forward.”
Logan and Chapmanville will have a rematch on Feb. 10 at CRHS.
The two teams could also meet in the upcoming sectional tournament, possibly the finals. So far this season, CRHS, Logan and Mingo Central have been the most successful in the six-team field.
Green said he hopes to fill the field house.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a big crowd like that and we’re really anxious.”
Boys’ Basketball Series
Since 2002 (Logan leads 21-0):
Logan 67, Chapmanville 60
Logan 64, Chapmanville 43
Logan 96, Chapmanville 91
Logan 108, Chapmanville 75
Logan 88, Chapmanville 54
Logan 72, Chapmanville 48
Logan 76, Chapmanville 51
Logan 68, Chapmanville 51
Logan 66, Chapmanville 43
Logan 74, Chapmanville 56
Logan 101, Chapmanville 50
Logan 68, Chapmanville 49
Logan 88, Chapmanville 61 (2A regional final at Williamson)
Logan 53, Chapmanville 43
Logan 63, Chapmanville 50
Logan 49, Chapmanville 38 (2A regional final at Williamson)
Logan 61, Chapmanville 55
Logan 83, Chapmanville 55
Logan 60, Chapmanville 44 (2A sectionals at Williamson)
Logan 52, Chapmanville 49
Logan 64, Chapmanville 47
Boys’ Basketball Standings
Team Conf. All
Chapmanville 5-0 9-3
Logan 5-1 6-3
Mingo Central 4-1 7-2
Wayne 0-5 3-9
Scott 0-7 1-9
Team Conf. All
Sissonville 4-1 7-2
Poca 3-2 7-2
Winfield 4-2 7-4
Herbert Hoover 2-4 6-5
Nitro 2-6 6-7
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).