Logan's McCormick Ilderton (20) puts up a shot as Fairmont Senior's Connor Gower (3) attempts a block shot during first quarter action of the Wildcats 53-52 loss to the Polar Bears in the Par Mar Shootout at the Big House on Monday night (Photo by Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
INSTITUTE Fairmont Senior coach Dave Retton had nothing but praise for the Logan Wildcats Monday night.
Despite playing without Jaxon Cogar and Aiden Slack, who have been out with knee injuries that occurred during football season, as well as Garrett Williamson, who suffered a knee injury in Logan’s loss at Scott on Jan. 20, and the recent addition to the injury list, Cole Blankenship, who suffered an ankle injury in practice last week, the injury-depleted Wildcats (10-9) nearly upset the Polar Bears (14-2) that left Retton showering the Wildcats with praises.
“Give Logan a lot of credit, a lot of credit, their kids played hard and their coaches have done an outstanding job,” Retton said. “They have lost some many guys due to injuries and they have done an outstanding job, their coaches and players, hats off to them.”
Zycheus Dobbs scored seven points in the final 26 seconds to help the Class AAA No. 2 Polar Bears erase a six-point deficit and defeat the fifth-ranked Wildcats 53-52 in the Par Mar Shootout at the Big House at West Virginia State University’s Walker Convocation Center.
Scotty Browning made two free throws with 33 seconds remaining to put Logan on top 52-46. Dobbs drove the lane, missed a layup but got his own rebound and scored with 26 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to 52-48.
Following a Logan turnover, Dobbs attacked the rim, made a layup and was fouled on the play by Logan’s Scotty Browning. Dobbs sank the free throw to pull Fairmont Senior to within one, 52-51 with 19 seconds to play.
The Wildcats, clinging to a one-point advantage, turned the ball over in the backcourt with 14 seconds remaining setting the stage for Dobbs heroics.
Dobbs got the inbound and immediately attacked the paint scoring with six seconds remaining to give the Polar Bears a 53-52 lead.
Logan called timeout with three seconds to play and nearly pulled off an improbable upset with a designed play out of the timeout.
The play called Valpo, which is named for Valparaiso and Bryce Drew’s 3-point buzzer beater against Ole Miss in the 1998 NCAA Tournament, was designed for Scotty Browning.
In this occurrence, the Wildcats had a little more time than what Valparaiso had in its contest, nearly worked to perfection as Julius Clancy caught the in bound pass from Jarron Glick and flipped the pass back to Scotty Browning, who raced toward the rim.
Fairmont Senior’s Andre Grant stayed within distance of Browning forcing him to attempt a reverse layup, which drew front iron allowing the Polar Bears to escape with the one-point victory.
“That is the old Bryce Drew play, it worked to perfection expect we didn’t make the layup,” Logan coach Zach Green said. “I am proud of our guys, we battled hard, and I don’t think anyone expected us to be in the game and we came out and showed that we didn’t belong.”
Logan trailed by as many as eight in the third quarter, but the Wildcats gradually chipped away at the deficit trimming it to two, 38-36, on Scotty Browning’s 3-pointer with 7:25 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats trailed 46-42 with 3:49 to play following a DeSean Goode layup but responded with a 10-0 run to take a 52-46 lead on Scotty Browning’s free throws with 33 seconds to play.
Leading by six and just 33 seconds away from its biggest win of the season, the Wildcats struggled to get the ball in play following Dobbs basket with 26 seconds left.
“We need to spend more time on in bounding late game situations. We have been pretty good so far this season, but it is a different animal when you are doing it against Wayne and against Fairmont,” Green said. “Those are two different animals there, so I thought we did a good job up until the last 30 seconds.”
Dobbs, who broke the hearts of the Shady Spring Tigers with a last second jumper to win the 2022 Class AAA state championship, finished with 21 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field to go along with five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“He is a winner, who wants the ball, and he is not afraid of failing,” Retton said. “That is big in having success. He wants the ball; he wants to make a play and he is going to make a play and he did an outstanding job.”
Fairmont Senior led 5-2 in the early stages of the first quarter before Logan responded with an 8-0 run capped off by Clancy’s layup with 2:33 remaining in the opening quarter to give Logan a 10-5 lead.
Logan led 12-10 after one quarter but trailed Fairmont Senior 23-20 at halftime after Goode’s six second quarter points got the Polar Bears going offensively.
Goode continued his dominance of the paint in the third quarter, scoring eight points in the frame as Logan simply had no one to match up with his size in the paint. Goode finished the evening with 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Polar Bears.
Fairmont Senior, who was 9 of 21 from the field in the first half and 2 of 10 from beyond the arc, made an assertive effort to get the ball inside to Goode in the second half.
“We needed him really active inside, and we felt in the first half we settled for 3’s,” Retton said. “We got a size advantage, we were not putting the ball inside, and we did a better job in the second half.”
Logan was minus-11 in the rebounding column, allowed 17 offensive rebounds, was outscored 34-28 in the paint, and gave up 14 second chance points. Fairmont Senior outrebounded Logan 16-13 in the first half, but the Polar Bears held a 21-13 advantage in the second half on the glass.
“We thought that if we could rebound the basketball, we would be able to stay in the basketball and I thought we did a pretty good job at it the first half,” Green said. “It got away from us in the second half and that was the difference.”
Derrick Browning led Logan with 16 points, Scotty Browning had 12 points and Clancy 10 points for the Wildcats.
“Derrick has been playing well, and it has never been a question whether Derrick can score,” Green said. “He has been rebounding a little better, he has been defending a little better and he is turning into a good player for us.”
The Polar Bears will return to action Thursday evening when they host East Fairmont. The Bees, who are 15-1 and ranked fourth in AAA, have won eight straight since a 65-58 loss to Fairmont Senior at East Fairmont on Jan. 5.
A Fairmont Senior win would likely sew up the top seed in the Class AAA Region 2 Section 1 tournament.
“They are having a great season and we are excited to go play the Bees,” Retton said. “Our focus is getting ready for our next practice, getting ready for East Fairmont. The tournament is a long way away and we have a lot of basketball to play.”
Logan will return to action Friday night at home against county rival and Class AA No. 3 Chapmanville. The Tigers defeated the Wildcats, 70-64, in overtime on Jan. 13 at the Danny Godby Gymnasium.
“I don’t have to really say anything about that one or what that one means,” Green said. “They are a really good basketball team. Same situation as tonight, we are going to have to rebound and if we don’t rebound against them, they are going to pound us. Rebound, take care of the basketball and continue to get more production out of some of our other guys to win that game.”
Logan, who was coming off a 59-55 victory over Scott last week, was looking to add a signature victory to its resume in hopes of securing homecourt advantage in the upcoming Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 tournament.
The Wildcats and Skyhawks split a pair of meetings this season. Scott defeated Robert C. Byrd 44-39 Monday afternoon at West Virginia State to improve to 11-8 on the year, which is one full game better that Logan (10-9).
From now until the sectional seeds are announced, every game matters in determining the top seed for the sectional tournament.
Green said the coaches will get together and discuss how to seed the tournament, but no matter the result he feels his Wildcats will be ready for whatever seed they receive whether it is a one or a two.
“I am not sure if we are looking at records from all around, from teams outside our region and section, but I felt the win the other night with them being fully healthy and us not being healthy should be a big case for us to be the number one seed,” Green said. “I am sure there are going to be arguments from different sides in that meeting, but we hope to get the number seed and if we don’t I think it would be great motivation for our locker room going into that section.”
Fairmont Senior 53, Logan 52
Fairmont Senior (14-1)
Goode 8-14 2-6 18, Grant 2-8 2-4 7, Gower 2-8 0-0 5, Dobbs 7-11 6-7 21, Butler 1-5 0-0 2, Law 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 20-48 10-17 53.
Glick 1-2 0-0 3, Clancy 5-10 2-3 12, Browning, S. 4-16 6-6 15, Browning, D. 6-12 2-2 16, Ilderton1-3 0-0 2, Miller 1-4 0-0 2, Workman 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 19-49 10-11 52.
Fairmont 10 13 13 17- 53
Logan 12 8 13 19- 52
3-Point Field Goals_Fairmont Senior 3-20 (Grant 1-6, Gower 1-7, Dobbs 1-1, Butler 0-4, Law 0-2), Logan 4-12 (Glick 1-1, Clancy 0-1, Browning, S. 1-5, Browning, D. 2-4, Workman 0-1). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Fairmont Senior 37 (Goode 17), Logan 26 (Clancy 8). Assists_Fairmont Senior 12 (Grant 3, Dobbs 3), Logan 6 (Browning, S. 2). Total Fouls_Fairmont Senior 13, Logan 12. Technicals_None.