By Paul Adkins
CHAPMANVILLE — Kevin Gertz said he didn’t expect to win the first game of the season.
Hit hard by graduation and no longer having State Player of the Year Shayna Gore in the Lady Cats’ backcourt, the Logan High School girls’ basketball team is in a retooling mode.
Logan still has 6-foot-2 all-state center Monica Mitchell, however, and the senior helped lead the Lady Cats to a 59-56 win at rival Chapmanville on Wednesday night in the 2015-16 season opener before a big crowd at Chapmanville Regional High School’s Danny Godby Gymnasium.
Mitchell tallied 15 points, pulled down several rebounds and came up with a huge game-saving steal late in the game. Mitchell played despite feeling ill and was not anywhere near 100 percent.
It was a see-saw game back and forth but Logan began to pull away late.
Down 58-52, Chapmanville got back into the game in the final minute.
With 56.8 seconds left, Chapmanville’s Abby Marcum was fouled and hit her first free throw. She missed the second and Shian Meeks rebounded. She then fed the ball to Lexi Martin, who drained a 3-pointer to complete a four-point trip as CRHS trimmed the Logan lead to 58-56.
Chapmanville got the ball back and looked to tie but Mitchell stole a cross court pass with 25 seconds left. Mitchell passed to Jamyya Knox, who was able to dribble away about 15 seconds before Mitchell was fouled with 4.8 ticks to go.
Logan High School’s Monica Mitchell steals the ball away with 25 seconds left. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Mitchell split from the line to make it 59-56.
Chapmanville still had a chance. But after inbounding the ball with four seconds left, the Lady Tigers threw the ball out of bounds as time expired.
It was a surprise win for Logan, which went into the game as a slight underdog.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect to win this game tonight,” Gertz said. “I thought we could keep it close but I didn’t expect to win it because we’re not ready. But we showed a lot of guts and pulled out a heck of a game tonight.”
Gertz praised the effort of Mitchell.
“Monica is a legit first-team all-stater,” Gertz said. “I thought that she played super tonight but she’s been sick all day. She probably shouldn’t have played tonight. She couldn’t hardly stand up after the game. She’s dehydrated.”
Knox netted 11 points and Spry 10 for Logan. Knox, a key reserve on last year’s 14-6 team, hit several key baskets and free throws in crunch time.
“We lost six out of our top nine players,” Gertz said. “But we still have some young talent. The thing they (Chapmanville) has over us is experience. They played a couple of freshmen and we played three. We both have some real good freshmen. We have Monica and Ashton and they have some experience. They handled the pressure a little bit better than we did tonight. That was the best game Jamyya has ever played. She’s got to learn to keep her head. That has been her problem her entire life. It’s my job to get her to grow and get all of these kids to grow.”
Beth Adkins had eight points and freshman newcomer Kailea Williams had seven for Logan (1-0). Alexis Perry tossed in three points, while Faith Damron hit a 3-pointer and Brigette Duncan and Britney Welch had two points each.
“Kailea Williams stepped up. She’s a freshman from the Burch area. She’s 6-2 and she’s going to be a stud. I wanted to keep her hidden,” Gertz said. “Ashton Spry played big and Faith Damron hit a big 3. Beth Adkins hit some 3s early. Jaz Early came in and gave us some minutes. We didn’t have her as much because she played so many minutes in the JV game. Brigette Duncan started and scored two and she was always where we needed her to be.”
Logan coach Kevin Gertz talks to his Lady Cats’ team. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Chapmanville (0-1) was led by Lexi Martin, who came off the bench to score 20 points. She hit five 3s, including three in a row to start the game as the Lady Tigers led 9-6 early on. Abby Marcum had 14 points, while freshman Madison Webb had eight. Shian Meeks and NeNe Osborne netted five points each and Taylor Manns had four.
CRHS was just 5-for-13 from the free throw line. Logan was better as the Lady Cats sank 9-for-14.
Chapmanville led 13-11 after one quarter and trailed 29-27 at the half. Logan led 42-39 after three.
The Lady Tigers led 26-20 with 3:20 to go in the second after a 3 by Marcum.
Logan later tied it at 27 with Damron’s 3-pointer. LHS led 29-27 at the break with a bucket by Welch.
Chapmanville went back on top 33-31 with 6:43 in the third on Webb’s inside hoop.
Logan’s Adkins hit a 3 at the top of the key to make it 38-33. Spry then had a big rebound and putback with 2:30 to go and was fouled. She hit the free three to complete the three-point play as Logan led 41-33.
Logan’s Ashton Spry hits a bucket and is fouled. Her three-point play put LHS on top 41-33. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The fourth quarter then see-sawed.
The Lady Tigers’ NeNe Osborne scores two in the paint to put CRHS on top 43-42. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Knox drained a 17-foot jumper with 5:13 left, giving Logan a 46-43 lead. Meeks then tied it up with a 3.
Logan’s Jamyya Knox drains a 17-footer to give her team a 46-43 lead. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Martin’s shot off the window with 3:43 remaining kept CRHS to within 51-48.
Chapmanville’s Lexi Martin’s bank shot pulls her team to within 51-48. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Logan’s Williams then netted a 19-foot jumper at the 3:12 mark to make it 54-48 Lady Cats.
Webb’s putback with 1:50 left trimmed the lead to 56-52.
Madison Webb’s putback closes the Lady Tigers to within 56-52. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Chapmanville freshman Madison Webb scores a basket inside the paint. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Lady Tigers played the game without 5-10 Lexi Hines, a transfer from Logan. She was out with shin splints but expects to make her debut in Chapmanville’s next game on Dec. 8 at home against Poca.
“We knew it was going to be a tough close game,” CRHS coach David Williamson said. “Some girls stepped up for them. Knox hit some shots and took over for them in a three or four minute span. Monica is a Triple-A all-stater and we have our hands full with her.”
CRHS girls’ basketball coach David Williamson talks to his team during a timeout. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Webb, a freshman, started for CRHS. Kaylee Blair, another freshman, saw a lot of playing time.
“It’s rare for a freshman to start,” Williamson said.
Williamson said Hines should be able to play in the Poca game.
“We expect her back for Poca,” he said. “She had some injuries last year at Logan. She’s got chronic shin splints. It think she’ll be ready to go next week. She’s going to be a huge key to us when it comes tournament time and down the stretch. She took this one hard. She wanted to play real bad and play against them but she will get to on January 4 when we play them again.”
Logan is scheduled to return to action on Friday against Lincoln County in the home opener. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.
“I’ve always been one to scout,” Gertz said. “But right now, I have to worry about teaching my own kids right now. We’re just trying to get them as fundamentally sound as we can and teaching them the game and letting them grow.”
Logan beat Chapmanville 38-37 in the JV game behind Early’s 10 points. Shay Pridemore led CRHS with 11 points.
The Lady Cats’ lineups are introduced. (Video by Paul Adkins)