When you turn the calendar to November that means one thing to area sports fans in the southern West Virginia Coalfields.
Basketball season is near.
The storied Logan High School boys’ basketball program is scheduled to hold its first practice for the new season on Monday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m. at Logan’s Willie Akers Arena.
The Wildcats are under new leadership with head coach Allan Hatcher, who had coached at Chapmanville Regional High School the last three seasons. Hatcher replaces is son Mark Hatcher, who stepped down during the off-season after 15 years and two state championships.
Allan Hatcher is a LHS graduate and former assistant coach under Willie Akers.
“We’re excited about the basketball season,” Allan Hatcher said on Thursday morning. “We’re excited about the opportunity. We have a lot of pieces to the puzzle. We have just got to put the puzzle together. We’re looking forward to practice. We’ve got some really good kids. They have been working hard in conditioning. We’re looking forward to starting practice on the 16th.”
The 2015-16 schedule was already complete upon Allan Hatcher’s arrival.
“It’s a very difficult and challenging schedule,” he said.
Logan is scheduled to open the 2015-16 season on Dec. 8 vs. Mingo Central in a game played at the Williamson Fieldhouse. Logan then plays Dec. 11 against Perry Central (Ky.) in the Clay County (Ky.) tournament.
Hatcher coached at Perry Central, located in Hazard, Ky., prior to coming to Chapmanville three years ago. He led Perry Central to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen state tournament at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
Logan is set to have its preseason opener on Nov. 21 at Johnson Central (Ky.), a team that has been to Kentucky’s Sweet Sixteen five years in a row. Logan will also play Johnson Central during the regular season.
“We’ll play at Johnson Central in a preseason shootout there. There will be about five or six games that day. We’re the last game at about 7:30 or 8 o’clock,” Hatcher said.
Then on Nov. 28, Logan has its final preseason test in an 11 a.m. scrimmage at home against Ripley.
“Ripley has two kids that are 6-foot-8. This is supposed to be the best team they have had in about 15 or 20 years,” Hatcher said. “That will be a tough scrimmage for us.”
Many returning Logan basketball players will be back from last year’s team.
One of those, however, won’t be last year’s starting guard Kareem Clansy, who has moved with his family to Dayton, Ohio. Clansy, who averaged 5.4 points a game last season, missed the last few games last year with an injured wrist.
“He transferred out to Dayton Dunbar High School,” Hatcher said. “His mother lives up there and he moved out to be with his mother. We were counting on him but we’ll coach what we’ve got. We just have got to go on.”
The Wildcats will have some rebuilding to do this season.
Top scorers Zac Acord (16.9 ppg.) and Australian import Austin Treweek-Noe (14.6 ppg.) have both graduated.
Logan does return some players, however, including 6-1 junior guard Kyle Porter (8.0 ppg.) and 6-4 junior guard/forward Braxton Goff (5.6 ppg.). Jamal Minter, Alex Toler, Will Akers, 6-4 Samual Justice, 6-4 and Nigerian Augustine Chukwu-Noe, and a host of others are also back for the Wildcats this season.
Another Nigerian, Ben Eke, a 6-8 center center, who played under Hatcher at Chapmanville last season, has also enrolled at Logan.
Logan started out last season 11-1 but stumbled down the stretch, finishing 13-6 after a 53-50 loss to Spring Valley in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 semifinals.
New to Logan’s schedule is a home-and-home series with Princeton and a home game on Jan. 30 against prep school Mountain Mission (Va.).
Logan has one more new opponent on Jan. 21 as Johnson Central (Ky.) comes to Willie Akers Arena. The Wildcats played the Golden Eagles more than 10 years ago in their home tournament.
Johnson Central, located in Paintsville, Ky., is a 15th Regional powerhouse.
Last year, the Golden Eagles beat Lawrence County (Ky.), 67-60 in the 15th Region Championship Game, but lost 82-69 to Louisville Ballard in the state tournament at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.
2015-16 Logan High School
Boys’ Basketball Schedule
Dec. 8: vs. Mingo Central at Williamson, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 11: vs. Perry Central (Ky.) at Clay County, Ky. tourney, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 15: at Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 19: Cabell Midland, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 28-29: at Little General tourney at Beckley Woodrow Wilson, TBA
Jan. 5: at Huntington, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 8: Princeton, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 9: Point Pleasant, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12: at Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 15: at Wheeling Park, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 16: at Brooke, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 21: Johnson Central (Ky.), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23: Westside, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 29: Wyoming East (King Coal Classic at Logan), 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 30: Mountain Mission, Va. (King Coal Classic at Logan), 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8: vs. Shady Spring, Little General Shootout at Charleston Civic Center, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 12: at Princeton, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 18: Winfield, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 20: at Wyoming East, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 23: Parkersburg, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 27: Beckley Woodrow Wilson, 7:30 p.m.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).