Three years ago, the Logan High School boys’ basketball team came very close to advancing to the Class AAA state tournament despite a losing record.
Logan went to favored Hurricane to play in the Class AAA regional co-championship game.
The Wildcats nearly pulled off the upset before bowing 64-58 in overtime to the homestanding and No. 5-ranked Skins at a crammed Hurricane High School gymnasium. Trent Dalton sent the game to OT with a 3-pointer at the buzzer but Hurricane was able to win it in the extra period.
The loss closed out Logan’s season with an 8-17 record, its first losing roundball campaign in a decade.
Fast-forward to the present and the Wildcats find themselves in a very smiliar situation.
Logan (10-14) has a losing record again but can still advance to next week’s Class AAA state tournament with a win on Tuesday night at Hurricane. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Hurricane (10-14) also comes into the game with a losing mark, meaning either the Wildcats or the Skins will head to Charleston next week with a sub .500 record, and possibly, the number eight seed.
Logan advanced to the regional co-final after falling 71-52 to No. 2-ranked Huntington in last Friday night’s sectional championship game at Cabell Midland High School. The Wildcats advanced with last Wednesday’s narrow 40-35 sectional semifinal win over Spring Valley.
Hurricane won its fourth straight sectional title last Friday with a 47-35 victory over county rival Winfield.
Ryan Midkiff led Hurricane with 16 points while Nick Muto added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Braxton Dobert added 10 boards for Hurricane, with Michael Watson grabbing six rebounds.
Winfield (9-15) is scheduled to travel to play at Huntington (22-2) also on Tuesday night in the other regional co-final for a state tourney bid.
Logan is looking for its first state tourney berth since the 2011-12 season when the Cats were 17-9 and lost 63-50 to Martinsburg in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament.
This is Logan’s last shot at the 3A state tourney — at least in the near future.
Logan is dropping down to Class AA status next season and will remain a Double-A school through the 2019-20 hoop campaign.
The Wildcats have lost four out of their last five games heading into Tuesday’s regional clash.
Hurricane held Winfield to just eight points in last week’s sectional game and led 18-8 at the break.
Hurricane coach Lance Sutherland said his team is very young and had played a very difficult Mountain State Athletic Conference schedule.
“I knew with this (young) team it was going to take us some time, plus our schedule was murder,’ Sutherland told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “I always try to schedule tough and then come postseason we’re ready to go. We’ve been playing solid.”
Logan has had trouble scoring all season long.
The Wildcats haven’t scored 60 or more points since Jan. 9 in a 76-30 rout over lowly Point Pleasant. That was 15 games ago.
Logan played both sectional tourney games without first-year head coach Allan Hatcher, who has had health issues.
Assistant coach Stan Elkins has been Hatcher’s fill-in.
“I thought that we finished the game strong and that we didn’t give up,” Elkins said after Friday’s game. “We scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and we continue to play hard. We’re going to have to guard well against Hurricane. We’ve got a chance at the state tournament and we’re very fortunate to get that opportunity. We’re going to try to take advantage of that.”
Logan and Hurricane did not meet during the regular season. Logan played Winfield three times, winning two.
“It would have been tough to play the same team four times,” Elkins said. “I think that we would have had a good feeling if we had played Winfield but I think that we’re ready to play a new team. We’re ready for anybody. They won 47-35 and we think that’s in our range. If we don’t hold teams to 45 points or less it’s a dog fight for us.”
Elkins said Hurricane has a good team.
“We watched them play against Tug Valley. They’ve got a couple good players,” he said. “They have a real good point guard (Midkiff) who takes care of the ball. They transition with the ball and they are very well coached. They give a great effort and they are going for the same thing that we are going for with a trip to the state tournament.”
Against Huntington, Braxton Goff paced the Cats with 14 points. Kyle Porter had eight points. Augustine Chukwu and Ben Kazee had six each, while Khalil Murphy had five.
Hurricane started out slowly this season with a 2-8 mark. The Skins have won three out of their last four games heading into the regionals.
Hurricane beat Nitro 64-52 to advance in sectional play. The Skins lost 55-53 at home to Class A No. 4 Tug Valley in the regular season finale. Hurricane also beat St. Albans, 66-57 on Feb. 19.
Looking at head-to-head matchups, the Logan and Hurricane game appears to be a toss-up.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).