Everywhere Allan Hatcher has coached success has followed him.
He hopes to continue the trend at his alma mater, Logan High School, and follow in the footsteps of his son, Mark Hatcher.
The Hatcher era continues with the storied Logan Wildcats’ basketball program as Allan Hatcher takes over at the helm for the 2015-16 roundball season.
Mark Hatcher resigned during the off-season after getting a promotion with a job in the medical field and left behind a winning legacy at Logan, having led the Wildcats to two state championships, a state runner-up finish and numerous sectional and regional crowns.
The elder Hatcher comes to Logan from nearby Chapmanville Regional High School, where he led the Tigers to the Class AA state tournament in 2014 — the first-ever state appearance for a boys’ basketball team in Chapmanville.
Mark Hatcher certainly did not leave the cupboard bare for his father as Logan returns many players from last year’s successful 13-6 team.
This year’s version of the Logan basketball team has size.
Lots and lots of size.
There will be some rebuilding to do, however, particularly in the backcourt as leading scorers Zac Acord (16.9 ppg.) and Australian import Austin Treweek-Noe (14.6 ppg.) have both been lost to graduation.
A third guard, part-time starter Kareem Clansy, was also lost as he moved away to Dayton, Ohio, with his family.
It’s still looking pretty good, however, for Logan, which is scheduled to open the season on Tuesday night against Mingo Central at the neutral Williamson Fieldhouse in Williamson.
Coach Hatcher, the tri-captain of the Logan team during his senior season in the 1973-74 roundball campaign and a former assistant coach under Willie Akers, returns to Williamson where he coached the Wolfpack to the Class AA state championship in 1983.
Hatcher has been known more for his delibrate style of basketball and defense over the years and many have questioned if the “Runnin’ Wildcats” will be running and gunning or not.
With depth and athletes who can run, jump and shoot, that’s an easy question to answer.
“We’re going to try to use our depth to force an up-tempo game. We have some kids coming back from last year,” Hatcher said. “We want to be able to play as many as those guys as we can. Depth is one of our strong suits so we want to push the basketball, press and look to play in the transition game. Our kids are excited about doing that.”
Logan’s ultimate goal, of course, is to make it to the state tournament.
Since the Wildcats are moving down to Class AA ball next season, this will be Logan’s last chance to play in the 3A state tourney, at least in the foreseeable future.
Logan last made it to state in 2012 and last won the 3A state crown in 2010.
The Wildcats appeared to be headed to Charleston last year as Logan raced out to an 11-1 start. The Cats, however, stumbled down the stretch, closing out with five losses in their last seven games, including a 53-50 loss to Spring Valley in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 semifinals at Cabell Midland.
Logan hopes to avoid that this season and make it back to state.
There’s plenty of talent to go around and the Wildcats hope to put it together by March.
One of those players who will be leading the way is Braxton Goff. The 6-foot-4 junior played the three or the four positions last year for Logan but will be returning to his more natural point guard slot this season. Goff averaged 5.6 points a game last season.
Last year, Treweek-Noe, Clansy and Acord shared in the point guard duties but all three are gone.
Goff will most likely handle most of it this season.
Kyle Porter, a 6-0 junior, is also pressing to be a starter in the backcourt. A top 3-point shooter, Porter averaged eight points a game last year and is Logan’s leading returning scorer.
“Goff played a lot last year and Kyle ended up being the leading scorer in the sectional tournament game,” Hatcher said.
Sophomore Levi Davis, junior Will Akers (6-1), sophomore T.J. Mullins and junior Jamal Minter (6-1) are other Logan guards in the mix.
“All six of these guys are battling for spots,” Hatcher said. “We’re going to try to use all of those guys. We’ve got 12 guys that make up that varsity group right now. We’re looking for three or four more guys to step up there and dress on the varsity too. We’ve got some spots open.”
Logan has size at forward with returning player Khalil Murphy, a 6-4 senior, who averaged 5.6 points a game last season.
Also back is Nigerian national Augustine Chukwu-Noe, a 6-4 senior power forward. Chukwu-Noe gave Logan some muscle in the paint last season and steadily improved all season as he averaged 6.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest. He ended up being the top Cat on the boards.
Samuel Justice, a 6-5 junior forward, saw some valuable varsity time last year as well and is also returning.
Logan also has Ben Eke, a 6-8 senior center, who came to LHS with Hatcher from Chapmanville Regional High School. Eke, who also hails from Nigeria, averaged 10.6 points for the Tigers last year and is a top rebounder and shot-blocker.
Sophomore Terrance Chapman (6-4) could also see some time at forward for the Cats.
“We have a lot of size with 6-8, 6-5 and 6-4 guys,” Hatcher said. “Braxton Goff is close to 6-4 now and he’s a guard. We’ve got good size and good depth but now we need to let them get up and down the floor.”
Rounding out the Logan roster are sophomores Musco Adams, Derrick Scott, Emmanuel Chiemeke and Paul Vinson and juniors Trice Boatwright (5-9), Austin Conn (5-9) and Joseph Lowe (5-7).
Hatcher also has a new coaching staff.
Assistant coaches Brandon Browning and Fuji Wiliams return from Coach Mark Hatcher’s staff.
Added to the staff is Hank Bowen, who last coached at the varsity level at Logan High School in 1999 when he led the LHS girls’ softball team to the Class AAA state championship game.
“Hank is a former coach here at Logan High School and was an assistant with me way back in the day,” Hatcher said. “He coached softball at Logan. He was also an assistant with me at Williamson when we had Mark Cline. Hank is a retired school teacher from Scott County High School in Georgetown, Kentucky.”
Stan Elkins has also been added to the LHS staff.
“Stan helped Coach Garland Thompson over at Tug Valley High School the last four or five years,” Hatcher said. “Both he and Hank have really been a real big addition to us.”
Logan will once again play in its same Class AAA sectional tournament opposite Spring Valley, Cabell Midland, Huntington and Lincoln County.
The Wildcats’ schedule is difficult and has been beefed up even more from last year.
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).