WINFIELD, W.Va. — It was a night where nothing really seemed to fall.
There seemed to be a lid on the top of the basket on Friday night at Winfield as the Logan and Winfield high school boys’ basketball teams slogged their way through a Cardinal Conference game on Friday night at the Winfield High School gym.
Logan, however, found its groove in the second half, sinking plenty of free throws, as the Wildcats won 51-45, improving to 13-7 overall and 8-4 in the conference. Winfield dropped to 12-8, 7-5.
The Wildcats, led by David Early, sank 18-of-22 second half free throws to earn the tough road victory over the Generals. Early, a freshman guard, made 9-of-10 of his foul shots — all coming in the second half — including a stretch where he made six in a row. Early led Logan with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The game was close throughout.
It was tied at 17 in a low-scoring, ice-cold shooting first half in which both teams combined to shoot only 27 percent from the floor.
Dino Noe, a 6-foot-5 junior wing, also broke into double digits in scoring for Logan with 14 points.
Braxton Goff had nine and Jamal Minter eight for Coach Zach Green’s Wildcats. Will Akers chipped in with two points and Chucky Felder one.
Logan was 15-for-42 shooting from the field for the game for 35.7 percent but managed to make 20-of-26 from the free throw line for 76.9 percent.
That ended up being the difference.
The Generals made just 18-of-49 of their shots for 36.7 percent. The Generals were only 4-of-10 from the foul line for 40 percent.
Logan was a woeful 1-for-12 from 3-point land. Winfield was just 5-for-23.
Braden McGrew led Winfield with 15 points. Christian Frye had 13. McGrew hit three of the Generals’ five treys.
Logan outrebounded Winfield 31-28.
The Wildcats led 10-9 after one quarter and were tied at 17-all at the half. Logan’s 19-16 edge in the third quarter put the Cats ahead 36-33. A 15-12 margin in the fourth by LHS then set the final score.
While the game didn’t show much shooting marksmanship it made that up for being a close, hard fought Cardinal Conference game.
The game see-sawed back and forth and was tied many times.
In the first quarter alone it was tied at 3, 5 and 7.
Minter put Logan ahead 10-9 after one with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. It would be Logan’s only made 3-point shot the entire game.
McGrew gave the Generals a 17-all tie at the half after sinking an NBA-range 24-foot 3-pointer with 1:35 left.
Logan then built its lead in the second half primarily from the free throw line.
Winfield was able to cut it to 49-45 with 17 seconds left on a Brian Fisher bucket.
The Generals then forced a Logan turnover but Minter was able to steal the ball back. Early was fouled with 8.7 ticks left and he was able to sink two free throws, putting the win on ice.
Logan is scheduled to return to action with Monday’s showdown game at home against Class AA No. 3-ranked and Class AA sectional rival Mingo Central (16-4, 10-2). The Miners beat the Cats 73-59 on Dec. 20 at Mingo Central in the previous meeting.
It will be the home finale for Logan and conference closer. Logan is then set to end the regular season on Tuesday at Class AAA Huntington.
Logan and Mingo Central could meet each other in the sectional semifinals.
If Logan gets the No. 3 seed, the Wildcats would likely play winless Man in the first round with possible No. 4 seed Lincoln County taking on No. 5 Scott in a perceived toss-up game.
Logan would be heavily favored vs. Man and would possibly get the Miners in the semifinals with projected No. 1 seed Chapmanville taking on either LCHS or Scott in the other semifinal game.
All of that, however, is speculation.
The sectional coaches are expected to vote on the official seedings this coming week.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner.