LOGAN, W.Va. — It’s been a long, long time since a varsity basketball team from Chapmanville has beaten tradition-rich Logan, its rival school.
The last time was in the late 1950s in the era when legendary former Chapmanville coach Ted Ellis played for the Tigers.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the United States and America was in the midst of the Cold War.
It’s been some 60 years.
History was made on Fright night, however, as Chapmanville Regional High School made the short trip to Logan and knocked off the Wildcats, 67-60, in front of a sellout crowd of more than 2,800 at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena.
The Tigers beat the Wildcats.
It’s been a long time coming.
The two schools regularly played each other from 2002-11 and Logan won all 21 meetings.
Back in the day, the county rivaly was Logan vs. Man not Logan vs. Chapamanville and the schools did not play each other that often.
But six decades of frustration went away with Friday night’s historic win by the Tigers over the Wildcats.
“It’s great to be a part of this,” CRHS coach Brad Napier said. “But our guys really aren’t into all of that. This game is not that important if we go lay and egg on Tuesday (vs. Poca) and don’t win. We’re trying to win them all. We want to win them all from here on out.”
Friday night’s win by the Tigers was the first victory as well for the new consolidated Chapmanville Regional High School over Logan in a varsity basketball game.
Many Chapmanville fans must have seen this coming.
That’s because boatloads of CRHS fans made the trip to the field house to see the long-awaited win over the Wildcats, packing one side of the field house and sprinkling in Orange and Black here and there on the home side of the gym.
By halftime of the JV game Willie Akers Arena was already nearly full.
“This one was important for us and it was important for the fans and the people in the community,” Napier said. “It was great for them and great for our school.”
Chapmanville stayed red hot with the win.
The Tigers, ranked No. 5 in the state this week in Class AA, improved to 10-3 overall and 6-0 in the Cardinal Conference, staying atop the South Division standings. It was the fifth straight win by the Tigers.
Chapmanville looks like a state tournament type of team at this point heading into the stretch drive of the season.
Logan, ranked No. 9 this week, fell to 6-4, 5-2.
Chapmanville had to do it without starting point guard Kyle Browning, who had an undisclosed medical emergency on Friday morning and was unable to dress.
It took the Tigers time to regroup.
Without Browning, Chapmanville was stagnant, particularly early in the game, as the Tigers fell behind 7-5 after one quarter. An 18-8 second quarter put CRHS on top 23-15 at the half.
It was still a tough slog and Logan’s defense really seemed to put the pressure on the Tigers.
“With Kyle not being here it took as awhile to adjust,” Napier said. “It took us some time to get in our sets early but I thought we calmed down and did much better after the first quarter. We had a lot of turnovers in the first quarter. We settled down some but I thought our defense kept us in the game.”
Drew Williamson had his usual big game for the Tigers with 27 points. He was 13-of-16 from the free throw line.
Hunter Neil and Devin Collins, playing in place of Browning, had 11 points each. Dylan Smith tossed in nine points, and Obinna Killen, a 6-8 freshman center and Nigerian import, had eight. Tyler Moore finished with one point.
David Early, a 6-3 freshman guard, tossed in 29 points to lead Logan. He had 21 fourth quarter points and helped the Wildcats rally back into the game. Early also drilled a trio of 3-pointers.
Braxton Goff also returned to the Logan lineup, netting 10 points. He had missed the first nine games this season due to a foot injury.
Will Akers netted three 3-point shots and had nine points for the Cats. Dino Noe had seven points and rocked the rim with a pair of slam dunks.
Chapmanville was 31-of-47 from the free throw line for 65.9 percent. Logan was 10-of-21 for just 47.6 percent.
The Tigers led 39-28 after three quarters and held a 16-point lead in the fourth before Logan was able to make a late charge, led by Early.
Logan ended up scoring an NBA-like 32 points in the final frame.
Logan got to within four points with a minute left in the game but could not get any closer.
“We knew that they were going to make a run,” Napier said. “We knew that they weren’t going to go away. Our guys knew that. We didn’t do a very good job of making foul shots in the fourth quarter. Tonight wasn’t a good night for us from the foul line. Logan didn’t go away. They have some really good players. Coach (Zach) Green does a great job with them. We knew that it was going to be a fight until that final buzzer went off.”
Logan first-year coach Zach Green said he’s happy his team did not quit.
It was a battle all the way.
“That’s not how we roll,” Green said of his team not quitting. “We’re going to fight until the end. We had the idea to try to foul a couple of guys and put them on the line and make them make free throws and see if that would slow their momentum down a little bit. They missed a couple and that let us get back into the game. But hats off to Chapmanville. They did exactly what I thought they would come in here and do.”
Green said foul trouble ended up being one of the differences in the game.
Jamal Minter picked up two early fouls and Noe also had foul trouble.
“Foul trouble killed us,” Green said. “Jamal is our best defender. He did a fantastic job a couple weeks ago against Luke Frampton of Poca. That’s what Jamal has done all year. He’s defended. He does so much. When Dino went out we thought that we got beat out a lot on the glass. We’ve talked a lot about rebounding. We really felt like if we would have rebounded tonight we could have won this game.”
It looked as if Chapmanville might turn the game into a blowout in the early moments of the fourth quarter.
After a 6-1 mini run it was 45-29 Tigers with 6:15 left in the game. Neil’s putback gave CRHS the 16-point cushion.
The Wildcats, though, rallied and made it interesting.
After a pair of Early 3-pointers it was 51-44 with 2:49 left as the Cats went on a 15-5 scoring run.
Goff later drove to the paint and scored and was fouled but missed a chance at a three-point play as Logan cut it to 53-46 with 2:16 to go.
Noe then scored down low, and likewise, missed a three-point play chance as he clanged the rock off the back iron with 1:55 left as Logan trailed 53-48.
Early’s spin move in the lane trimmed it to 55-50 with 1:18 left and Akers later drilled a 3 from the wing to close the gap to 57-53 with 1:04 remaining in the game.
That’s as close as Logan could get.
Logan ended up committing several fouls to try to force Chapmanville to make its free throws.
The Tigers then sealed the deal there at the line, making several big charity tosses in the game’s final minute.
Williamson hit two foul shots with 59.2 ticks left to make it 59-53. Collins netted two more with 36.1 ticks left to make it 62-53. Smith added two with 24.7 seconds remaining and it was 64-55.
Williamson then put it away with a pair of free throws with 14 seconds to go as it was 65-57 Tigers.
“I wish that we could put together a whole game,” Green said. “We’ve been doing this all year. We’ll be fanstastic in a half and then we’re off. We’re an average team. David had 29 points but we’ve got to be more balanced.”
Green said the large deficit was just too much to overcome.
“Watching this game tonight, if you are any type of basketball fan, you could see that we are an exciting team,” Green said. “It would be nice if we could do this both halves. In the second half we really played well. There was a lot of defensive intensity on both sides. We’ve got too many weapons to score 15 points in a half. When you dig yourself in a hole like that it’s hard to get out of, especially against a seasoned veteran team like Chapmanville that has guys that can score and shoot foul shots.”
Logan led 5-4 early after a Noe slam dunk and held a 7-5 edge after one.
It was the only leads of the game for the Wildcats.
Chapmanville went up 9-7 in the second period with a pair of Williamson free throws. It was 14-7 after a Collins 3 and 17-8 with a Neil free throw.
After taking an eight-point lead at the half, CRHS went on a 10-4 run to take a 33-19 advantage. Williamson swished two 3-pointers in the run.
Chapmanville made it a sweep on Friday night as the CRHS JV team also won over Logan, 69-64.
The Tigers have another big conference game on Tuesday as CRHS hosts No. 4-ranked Poca (8-2) in a rematch of last year’s Class AA state tournament game in which the Dots won 30-28 in a slowdown game.
Logan hosts its other county rival Man (0-11) on Tuesday night.
Both games have 7:30 p.m. tip times.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).