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Carden’s Shot Stuns Wildcats, Sends Skyhawks To Class AA Semifinals

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

PHOTO | Boothe Davis: Captured by the Moment Photography

Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports

CHARLESTON Reece Carden has made big shots before but none bigger than the one he hit Wednesday afternoon. Carden, a junior, hit an 8-foot floater with 1 second to give seventh-seeded Scott (17-9) a 65-63 win over second-seeded Logan (22-3) in Wednesday’s Class AA quarterfinals at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, sending the Skyhawks into the semifinals for the first time since 2011. “This is probably the best feeling of my life,” Carden said. “I’ve hit a few shots like that before, but this definitely tops the list.” With the game tied, 63-63, Logan had possession of the ball, but Scott’s Braxton Dolin came up with the play of the game forcing a steal with 35 seconds to play to give Scott a chance to win the game. Scott coach Shawn Ballard elected to not call a timeout, instead electing to allow his team to play on as he knew he had the ball in the hands of his top player and best scorer. “We trust our players and teach them how to play,” Ballard said. “We are not going to take the ball out of their hands to set something up and allow the defense to change.” Carden dribbled to the left elbow, spun to his right splitting a Logan double team and shooting a floater over two Wildcat defenders. “Whenever they were trying to double team me on that last shot,” Carden said. “I knew if I could spin on his (the defender) hip I could spin between them and have a shot to win the game.” Logan had a shot to win, but Garrett Williamson’s 3 hit the backboard and rim as time expired. Logan, making its first state tournament appearance since 2012, led 61-55 on a jumper by Scotty Browning with 3:28 to play. The Wildcats turned the ball over three times and shot just 1-of-3 from the floor in the final 3:28. “We didn’t execute down the stretch. That was the big difference in the game,” Logan coach Zach Green said. “We had a little breathing room late in the game and get the ball in bounds. We just didn’t execute and that is what cost us the game.” Logan had defeated Scott three times before Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchup. The Wildcats defeated the Skyhawks, 98-64, on Dec. 14 at Willie Akers Arena and won, 75-52, at Scott High School on Jan. 14 before winning, 64-46, in the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 championship on March 4 at Willie Akers Arena. “There was no pressure on us,” Carden said. “They had all the pressure on them, they were the two-seed and supposed to win, but we just came out, hit shots and did what we had to do to win.” Carden led all scorers with 26 points on 11-of-25 shooting from the field. Jayden Sharps had 14 off the bench including four 3-pointers and Isaac Setser finished with 10 points. Scott shot 26-of-57 from the field and was 8-of-23 from 3. In the opening quarter, the Skyhawks were 9-for-19 from the field and led 22-17. The Skyhawks led 32-31 at halftime. Logan never led in the first half and took its first lead of the game, 34-32, on Aiden Slack’s 3-pointer with 7:28 to play in the third quarter. The Wildcats led 48-47 after three quarters and never held a lead bigger than six points. There were eight ties and four lead changes in the contest. Scott turned Logan over 11 times and converted those into 19 points off turnovers. The Skyhawks committed just six turnovers. Jaxon Cogar led four Wildcats in double figures with 18 points and seven rebounds. Williamson finished with 17 points to go along with seven assists and six rebounds. Scotty Browning had 12 and Slack 10. “We had trouble closing it out,” Browning said. “There’s a lot of things we could’ve done better and a lot of things I could’ve done better.” Jackson Tackett, who averaged 23.7 points and 18.3 rebounds in three games against Scott this season, fouled out with 5:03 to play in the contest finishing with just six points and 11 rebounds. Green, in his sixth season as Logan coach, transferred from Scott for his senior season and led Logan to the state tournament in 2004. Wednesday’s loss was the first for Green against Scott as Logan had won the previous 15 meetings in Green’s sixth season. “It’s difficult and a tough one to have,” Green said. “We had a tremendous season, and I am very proud of these young men.” At the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center Class AAA Quarterfinals 7) Scott 65, 2) Logan 63

Scott (17-9) Jaren Gaiter 0-3 0-0 0, Landon Stone 2-5 2-2 6, Reece Carden 11-25 1-2 26, Isaac Setser 4-9 2-3 10, Braxton Dolin 1-2 0-0 0, Ian Jarrell 1-1 0-0 2, Cavin White 2-4 0-0 5, Jayden Sharps 5-8 0-0 14. Totals: 26-57 5-7 65.

Logan (23-3) Scotty Browning 4-13 2-2 12, Garrett Williamson 8-15 0-0 17, Aiden Slack 4-8 0-0 10, Jaxon Cogar 7-11 4-4 18, Jackson Tackett 3-8 0-0 6, Julius Clancy 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 26-56 6-6 63.

Scott 22 10 15 18- 65 Logan 17 14 17 15- 63 3-point field goals- Scott 8-23 (Gaiter 0-2, Stone 0-2, Carden 3-9, Setser 0-1, White 1-2, Sharps 4-7), Logan 5-15 (Browning 2-3, Williamson 1-5, Slack 2-6, Tackett 0-1). Rebounds- Scott 27 (Setser 8), Logan 35 (Tackett 11). Assists- Scott 6 (Carden 2, Stone 2), Logan 19 (Williamson 7). Total fouls- Scott 10, Logan 14. Fouled out- Tackett. Technicals- None.

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