CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Zach Green and the Logan High School boys’ basketball hope Monday night’s trip to the Charleston Civic Center is not the last this season for the Wildcats.
Logan took part in the annual Little General Shootout at the Big House and ripped the Bridgeport Indians of the Big Ten Conference, 56-40, improving to 10-6 on the season with the win.
The Wildcats have won three straight games, heading into Tuesday night’s Cardinal Conference matchup at Wayne.
Since the Charleston Civic Center is home every year to the boys’ state tournament, Logan hopes to make a return trip to Charleston in March.
Logan appears to be at full strength with the recent additions of injured players Braxton Goff and T.J. Mullins, but will have to navigate through a very tough six-team Class AA sectional with the likes of top 10-ranked teams Mingo Central and Chapmanville Regional.
Still, Monday’s win was a quality win against a quality opponent in Bridgeport, a team which now stands at 8-8 on the season.
The Wildcats seemed to have their way with the Indians, getting several easy buckets in the paint and stifling Bridgeport with an in-your-face defense.
First-year Coach Green seemed pleased with his team’s play. With three weeks to go until the post-season, it was a positive sign for the Wildcats.
“They are very good team and very well coached,” Green said of the Indians. “Bridgeport’s going to play really hard and our guys knew that coming in. We knew that we had to keep their big kid off the glass and stop him. Tonight was one of the first nights that we were very patient in the fourth quarter. We held onto our lead and took care of the ball. That was a big step for us. I’m really happy with that.”
Logan freshman guard David Early led the Wildcats with a game-high 19 points and had the shot of the game — a 40-foot prayer at the buzzer at the end of the first half, which gave Logan a 27-23 halftime edge and the momentum.
The Wildcats then pulled away from Bridgeport in the third quarter and kept its lead in the fourth, milking some of the time off the clock and holding the Indians to only 40 points.
“That was a big boost,” Green said of Early’s long 3-pointer. “I had to look at him when he was at the foul line and I said, ‘Shoot it.’ He’s a young kid and he’s been up and down a little bit confidence-wise. When he’s on he’s on. He showed what he can do there late in the second half too.”
Green said Logan’s defense was key in the win.
“We’ve worked on our half court defense a lot,” he said. “Early in the season we pressed pretty much from buzzer to buzzer. We’ve spent a lot of time on our defense because in the post-season these games are going to shrink and we will have to be able to get some stops in the half court. We’ve got some athletes that can really guard. We did well tonight.”
Dino Noe added 12 points for Logan and Goff had 11. Will Akers tossed in six points, while Terrance Chapman and Jamal Minter had three each and Mullins two.
Brandon Lesher and James Harris paced the Indians as each netted 12 points.
Logan led 17-9 after one quarter but Bridgeport was able to go on a 13-5 run to forge a 22-all tie thanks to a 3 by Harris.
The Wildcats then grabbed a four-point lead at the break after Early’s 3 from downtown Charleston.
Logan then poured it on in the third quarter.
Early’s 3 pushed the lead to 33-23 with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
Goff’s layup made it 37-25 and LHS led 41-29 after three as Early hit a 10-footer with six seconds left.
Logan led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter. Akers supplied the margin at 49-29 after drilling a trey from the corner with 6:06 left in the game.
Bridgeport cut it to 51-39 but Goff drove down the lane for a bucket to make it 53-39.
Minter sealed the win with a layup with 1:07 left and the Wildcats were able to pretty much run down the clock the rest of the way.
Logan seems to be putting it together with five games left in the regular season.
“I hope so,” Green said. “We had won five in a row there with the big win over Poca and we were rolling then we hit a dry spell there. We had a couple of guys hurt and we’ve got them back. It just took some time to adjust. This is really the first game that we feel like we played how we should all the way through.”
After Tuesday’s Wayne game, Logan has a rematch at Chapmanville against the Class AA No. 4-ranked Tigers. Logan lost 67-60 in the previous meeting on Jan. 20 at home.
The Cats then play at Winfield on Feb. 17, host Mingo Central on Feb. 20 and travel to Class AAA No. 1 Huntington (15-3) on Feb. 21 in the regular season finale before sectional play is set to begin.
Coach Green said his team enjoyed playing at the Civic Center.
“This is great,” Green said. “Anytime you can get in the Civic Center you want to be here. Your goal is to win the state championship and get back here. The more experience and the more time on this floor the better. When I was in high school coming here it made you hungry that you wanted to get back here and play in front of 10,000 people. It’s a great experience for our team.”
Boys’ Basketball Standings
Team Conf. All
Chapmanville 9-1 14-4
Mingo Central 8-1 13-3
Logan 6-3 11-6
Scott 1-11 4-13
Wayne 0-8 4-13
Team Conf. All
Sissonville 7-3 12-4
Winfield 6-4 10-7
Poca 5-4 11-5
Nitro 5-6 10-7
Herbert Hoover 2-9 7-11
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).