By Paul Adkins
WILLIAMSON — It was a successful debut for Allan Hatcher and the Logan High School basketball team on Tuesday night as the Wildcats routed Mingo Central 64-40 at the Williamson Fieldhouse.
Hatcher, a Logan graduate and a former LHS assistant coach under Willie Akers back in the 1970s, returned to Williamson, where he led the Wolfpack to the 1983 Class AA state championship.
Hatcher, who replaced his son Mark Hatcher as Logan’s coach, had coached at Chapmanville Regional High School the last three seasons.
Logan first-year head coach Allan Hatcher talks to his team during a timeout. It was Hatcher’s debut as head coach of the Wildcats. (Video by Paul Adkins)
On the flip side, it was a sour debut for new Mingo Central coach Garland Thompson, who came over from in-county Tug Valley High School after former MCHS coach Brad Napier bolted for Chapmanville to replace Hatcher.
Logan (1-0), powered by a barrage of 3-pointers from Will Akers and Kyle Porter, particularly in the first half, led 17-11 after one quarter and 33-20 at the half and never looked back.
The Wildcats then led 45-30 after three and coasted.
Mingo Central (0-1) was without key players Stevie Hammond and Keyshawn Rhodes, who did not dress.
Akers, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, came off the bench and led all scorers with 16 points. He drained four 3-pointers.
Augustine Chukwu-Noe, a 6-4 senior, Nigerian National and second-year Logan player, was big down in the paint as he tallied 14 points — 11 of those coming in the second half. Porter also reached double digits in scoring with 11 points.
Braxton Goff added nine points and Kahlil Murphy and T.J. Mullins had five apiece. Jamal Minter had two and Levi Davis and Terrance Chapman each had one point.
Logan dressed just 10 players for the game and nine of them scored.
For Mingo Central, Dalton Hatfield led the way with 14 points. Garret Moore had 12. Chaz Farley had three points and Tyler Grimmett, Kenny Allen, Daniel Buchanan, Isaiah May and Austin Banks all had two each. Deonte Joplin had one point.
Buchanan, a 6-6 junior, and Grimmett, a 6-5 junior, are both transfers from Man High School.
The game was close early on but Porter’s 19-foot jumper put Logan on top for good, 10-8, with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
Later, an old-fashioned three-point play by Murphy gave Logan a 17-8 edge with 1:26 to go.
At the 6:57 mark of the second quarter, Murphy’s nice touch pass to Akers for an easy lay-in gave Logan a 19-12 lead.
Logan High School’s Will Akers scores on a bunny underneath the hoop after a nice touchpass from Kahlil Murphy to put Logan on top 19-12 in Tuesday night’s season-opening 64-40 win over Mingo Central at the Williamson Fieldhouse. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Porter’s 3-pointer then put the Wildcats on top 23-12 with 5:50 to go until halftime. Another 3 by Porter made it 26-14.
Logan’s Kyle Porter sinks a 3 to put the Wildcats on top 23-12. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Then it was Akers, who canned a 3 to give Logan a 29-16 lead with 3:06 to go until halftime.
The Wildcats’ Will Akers drills another 3-pointer as Logan’s lead expands to 29-16. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Mingo Central’s Austin Banks blocks Kahlil Murphy’s attempt at a dunk. No foul was called. (Video by Paul Adkins)
With 39 ticks remaining, Akers drilled another 3-pointer as Logan led 33-18.
Logan’s Will Akers nets another 3 as the Cats lead the Miners 33-18. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Up 13 at the intermission, Mingo Central was able to close the gap to 10 at 35-25 before a 10-2 Logan run put the Cats ahead 45-27 with 2:32 to go. Goff’s driving bucket finished off the run.
The Miners got to within 45-30 with Hatfield’s topside 3-pointer but that was as close as Mingo Central could get.
The Miners’ Dalton Hatfield hits a 3-pointer. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Chukwu-Noe then showed his improved range as he canned a 3 with 1:19 left, giving Logan a 48-30 lead after three.
Chukwu-Noe’s power move and bank shot in the paint made it 50-30 with 7:30 left in the game. He then got a rebound and stickback at the 6:36 mark as Logan’s lead swelled to 52-30.
Logan’s Augustine Chukwu-Noe’s power bucket in the paint put the Wildcats ahead 50-30. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Cats’ Augustine Chukwu-Noe’s rebound and putback gave Logan a 52-30 lead late. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Mullins then put the win on ice with an 18-foot jump shot with 6:09 left as the Cats led 54-30.
Logan’s T.J. Mullins fakes out a Mingo Central defender and buries an 18-foot jumper late in the game. (Video by Paul Adkins)
A 3 by Akers and a free throw by Chukwu-Noe put Logan on top by a 58-30 margin — its largest lead of the night.
Logan is scheduled to return to action on Friday night with a long away trip as the Wildcats are slated to play Perry Central (Ky.) in the Bobby Keith Classic at Clay County High School in Manchester, Ky.
Game time is set for 8 p.m.
In a very rare occurance, the contest is scheduled to be broadcast live on TV on Hazard TV station WMYT. The channel can be seen by Logan County and southern West Virginia Suddenlink customers on Channel 134.
The three-game tournament honors the legendary former Clay County basketball coach Bobby Keith.
It’s believed the last Logan basketball game to air on TV was the 2010 Class AAA state championship game, when the Cats defeated Wheeling Park 64-48 to win the crown. That game was broadcast by Network West Virginia and was also shown locally on Suddenlink.
Mingo Central is back in action on Friday night at home against Herbert Hoover in a Cardinal Conference game. The Miners, which played in the state tournament last year, are the Class AA defending sectional tournament champs.
— Look for more on the game, including Logan coach Allan Hatcher’s comments, in Thursday’s Logan Banner print edition.