PHOTO | Boothe Davis: Captured by the Moment Photography
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports LOGAN, WVa Defense led to offense as Logan’s defense wreaked havoc throughout the night. Class AAA No. 3 Logan converted 18 Ripley turnovers into 17 points on its way to a 64-32 victory over the fourth-ranked Lady Vikings in the Region 4 co-final at Willie Akers Arena. Logan, which has won 12 straight games, advances to the state tournament for the second straight year and sixth time in school history. The Lady Wildcats earned the second seed as voted on by the Class AAA coaches and will face seventh seed Philip Barbour (14-8), Wednesday, March 9, at 1 p.m. in the Class AAA girls state tournament. For the first time in school history, Logan advances to the state tournament in consecutive years. The Lady Wildcats defeated Pikeview, 61-30, in last year’s quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals where they were defeated by Fairmont Senior, 52-33. This time Logan wants to go one step further and not only play for a state championship, but win the school’s first ever girls state championship in basketball. “I’m not saying that we are the favorites, but by God, we’re playing about as good as we could possibly be playing right now,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said. Logan dominated from start to finish, jumping out to a 22-6 lead after one quarter of play and extending that margin to 37-16 at halftime. The Lady Wildcats outscored the Lady Vikings, 17-6, in the third quarter and led 54-22 after three. Both teams went deep into their bench in the fourth quarter, which saw both teams score 10 points in the final quarter. Logan was 8 for 14 from the field in the opening quarter and held Ripley to just 2 of 11 shooting. At the end of the first half, Logan had connected on 13 of its 24 field goal attempts while Ripley had made just 7 of 20. “It was domination from the start,” Gertz said. “Our defense was great, our ball movement was great, we attacked the basket and just wore them down.” Logan jumped out a quick 9-2 lead in the first 3:50 forcing Ripley coach John Kennedy to call a timeout, but the onslaught didn’t stop there as Logan extended the lead to 22-8 with 7:05 to play in the opening half forcing Kennedy to call a second timeout. “They jumped on us early in the first quarter and we had to try to play catch up,” Kennedy said. “We coughed up a couple of timeouts to try to calm the girls down.” “Logan is number three in the state for a reason,” Kennedy said. “Not making any excuses but they were better than us tonight.” Erin Ryan led the way for Ripley with 10 points. She was the only player in double figures for the Lady Vikings. Sophie Nichols, Ripley’s leading scorer averaging 15 points a game, was held to two points on 1 of 12 shooting. “When Sophie got off early in the season teams game planned to try and take her out of the game,” Kennedy said. “Being that solid of a player that what is what coaches are going to do is game plan and try to take you out.” “Peyton (Ilderton) did a great job on Sophie defensively,” Kennedy said. “Sophie has just got to get better in the offseason, and I know she is going to work just like all the other girls are.” Ripley lost to Logan for the third time this season and finished the year with a record of 18-7. It is the most wins in a season since the 2009-10 coached by Steve Hunt won 17 games. The school record is believed to be 19 set during the 1999-2000 season. “We finished with 18 wins and that is the most in over 12 years,” Kennedy said. “They had a great year, and they need to keep their heads up and enjoy the moment.” “Being in postseason play I know it stings and it hurts being one game away from a state tournament where every coach wants to get to every year,” Kennedy said. “We just got to regroup and get better for next year.” Ilderton led Logan with 19 points and Emma Elkins added 10 points. In all, Logan had eight players crack the scoring column. “We are playing as good as we can possibly play right now,” Gertz said. “It is not one, not two and not five. I got eight or nine girls that are playing unbelievable right now, and it is whoever we put in.” Logan improves to 22-2 on the year and checked off another goal that was set by Gertz and the team at the beginning of the year. The Lady Wildcats shared the Cardinal Conference championship with Wayne then followed that up with a sectional victory over the Lady Pioneers. Now with a regional championship, Logan turns its attention to the state tournament in hopes of advancing to the semifinals against either third-seeded North Marion or sixth-seeded Keyser. “We have met every goal that we have set so far,” Gertz said. “Our first goal was to win a conference championship, which is something that our school has never done in girls basketball.” “Our next goal was to win the section. It wasn’t to get to a regional it was to win the section and we did that,” Gertz said. “The next goal was to win the regional and get back to the state tournament. We have accomplished that, and our next goal is to win and get to the semifinals.” At Willie Akers Arena Class AAA Region 4 Co-Finals Logan 64, Ripley 32
Ripley (18-7) Erin Ryan 4-5 3-5 11, Kyanah Baldwin 2-6 0-0 4, Morgan Shanklin 3-4 0-0 6, McKennan Hall 2-8 0-1 4, Corbin Casto 1-3 0-0 3, Eli Hosaflook 0-0 2-2 2, Sophie Nichols 1-12 0-0 2, Liv Greathouse 0-2 0-0 0, Jillyane Butler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 13-41 5-8 32.
Logan (22-2) Peyton Ilderton 6-10 7-7 19, Emma Elkins 4-5 0-0 10, Natalie Blankenship 4-9 0-0 9, Halle Crouse 3-6 2-3 8, Abbie Myers 3-8 0-0 8, Bam Mosby 2-4 0-0 4, Mika Dalton 2-5 0-0 4, Addyson Amick 0-0 2-2 2, Autumn Adkins 0-2 0-0 0, Payton Butcher 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals: 24-50 11-12 64.
Ripley 6 10 6 10- 32 Logan 22 15 17 10- 64 3-point field goals- Ripley 1-10 (Hall 0-3, Casto 1-2, Nichols 0-4, Greathouse 0-1), Logan 5-17 (Elkins 2-3, Blankenship 1-1, Crouse 0-2, Myers 2-6, Dalton 0-3, Adkins 0-2). Rebounds- Ripley 16 (Baldwin 5, Hall 5), Logan 31 (Ilderton 6). Assists- Ripley 9 (Ryan 2, Shanklin 2, Hall 2), Logan 10 (Myers 3). Total fouls- Ripley 10, Logan 12. Fouled out- None. Technicals- None.