It was an exciting year for the 2012-13 version of the Logan High School girls’ basketball team.
The Lady Cats drew record home crowds, won the Class AAA regional championship and advanced all the way to the state championship game at the Charleston Civic Center where Logan eventually lost 58-34 to Parkersburg South in a game which was televised by MetroNews and Network West Virginia’s Channel 2 on Suddenlink.
Despite the loss in the finals, it was a major accomplishment and step forward for the once down-trodden Logan girls’ basketball program which had only been to the state tournament three other times in its entire history in 1924, 1976 and 2000.
Along the way, the Lady Cats made history by knocking off Princeton 77-66 in the opening round of the state tournament to notch the first ever win by the Logan girls in the state tourney. Logan had been 0-3 going into the game.
Then in the semifinals, a 3-point shot by senior Hannah Tothe lifted Logan to a 52-49 upset win over top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Spring Valley to reach the state championship game.
The state runner-up finish was the highest ever for not only the Logan girls’ basketball program — but for any Logan County varsity girls’ hoop team.
The win over Spring Valley also avenged two earlier defeats to the Lady Wolves, including a 76-47 setback at home and a 68-67 loss in the Class AAA sectional finals.
It was a great run by the Lady Cats.
Many thought Logan wouldn’t even make it to the state tournament, let alone go all the way to the championship game.
Way back in the Class AAA sectional tourney opener, Logan faced a tough task with a first-round matchup against No. 3-ranked Huntington.
It was win or go home and unranked Logan passed the test with a 78-70 victory on Huntington’s home floor.
After a narrow loss to Spring Valley in the sectional finals, Logan had another tough assignment — playing St. Albans on its home floor in the region co-championship game.
Logan also passed that test with a 57-46 victory over the Red Dragons to advance to the state tourney for only the fourth time in school history and for the first time in 13 years.
Then came the state tournament.
The fifth-seeded Lady Cats began the 3A state tourney last with a first-round matchup against fourth seed Princeton and McKenzie Akers.
It was perceived to be a toss-up.
A coin flip.
But Logan also passed that test with the victory over the Tigers behind the 36-point effort of sophomore guard Shayna Gore and the 18-point, 17-rebound game from freshman center Monica Mitchell.
Another hurdle passed.
Then came the state semifinal game with Spring Valley in a rematch of the sectional championship game.
The Lady Cats won in dramatic fashion as Tothe took a feed from Gore and drilled a 3-pointer with seven seconds left to lift the Lady Cats to the three-point victory over the stunned Lady Wolves.
After that test was passed, Logan found itself in the state finals but came up a little bit short.
Now the quest to return to the state tournament begins for the Lady Cats.
It might be summer vacation but the first steps to Charleston begin this month as Logan is set to hold practices during its three-week summer period.
The Lady Cats will most likely be a preseason Class AAA top 10-ranked team and will be one of the challengers for the state title.
With Gore and Mitchell back along with Kyra Cline, Hannah Adkins, Summer Collins and others, Logan should be strong next year.
Could it be another Logan-Parkersburg South state championship game in 2014? South is also young, featuring sophomore guard Keya Barlett and freshmen Taryn McCutcheon and Katelyn Byrd.
“I hope so,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said at the of this year’s state tournament. “We are not in each other’s region and we’re not in each other’s section. For us to play them again that means that we would be playing again on this floor. I made this statement before the game and I made this statement at halftime … I want them to relish this. The thing that I wanted them to know was to not quit. They only guarantee from tonight’s game was that it was the last time that number 3 (Hannah Tothe), number 10 (Rachelle Toppings), number 4 (Amanda Williamson), number 32 (Katie Kirk), number 34 (Jenna Kimler) and number 41 (Kelsey Kirk) would ever play on this floor. There’s no guarantee that we will be back. Relish this. I’m so proud of them.”
From June 10 to the end of the month, the Lady Cats will be hitting the hardwood again.
Those first steps in the road to Charleston begin now.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Gertz said of this summer’s practices. “We have a lot of girls back. We had planned on playing in a few tournaments, but some girls are going to some camps and some are going to be playing softball. Getting gym time is going to be tough. Hatch (Logan boys’ basketball coach Mark Hatcher) has got his basketball camp during the three-week period. Getting time in the field house is going to be tough but we have to budget time and share time. It will all work out and we’ll get our work in.”
Logan has plenty of returning talent.
“We lost quite a bit but we’ve got quite a lot of experience coming back,” Gertz said. “We have five girls coming back who played major minutes and we’ve got some younger kids who will have to step up and play but I’ve got a lot of confidence that they can.”
Logan also returns rising senior Hannah Kolovich, a key reserve from last year’s team. She’ll be the only senior on the team next season.
“We have just one senior in Hannah Kolovich,” Gertz said. “I totally expect for her to do an outstanding job for us. We’ve also got a boat load of freshmen and sophomores that have worked real hard for playing time. I think they will step up as the season goes on and will help us be a pretty good team this coming season.”
Logan finished the 2012-13 season 17-10 and entered the state tourney as a battle-tested team. The Lady Cats faced one of the most difficult schedules in the state, including home-and-homes against Greenbrier East — a team which was shockingly upset by nine-win Capital in the regional tourney.
id play. We’ll be back. I don’t know if they will be back here but they will be back. I’m going to miss our seniors to de
Gertz said playing in the state finals will do wonders in the long term for his program.
“All this is going to do is to get girls more energized,” he said at the state tourney. “This will get the girls 5, 6 and 7 years old, our middle school kids and our high school kids more energized.”