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Turnovers, poor shooting doom Lady Wildcats in loss to East Fairmont

Logan's Halle Crouse (12) dribbles up court during the first half of the Lady Wildcats 54-30 loss to East Fairmont Saturday at Willie Akers Arena (Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography).

Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports

LOGAN Class AAA No. 2 Logan came into Saturday afternoon’s Big 10-Cardinal Challenge against No. 8 East Fairmont riding a 15-game winning streak.

The reigning state champion Lady Wildcats had not lost a game in nearly 11 months when they were defeated by sectional rival Wayne, 49-39, at Willie Akers Arena on Jan. 19.

Logan, who lost four starters from last season’s state championship team, committed 35 turnovers and shot 16.7 percent (7 for 42) from the floor in a season opening 54-30 loss to East Fairmont that snapped the Lady Wildcats 15-game winning stream.

Logan trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, committed 17 turnovers and connected on just four of 21 attempts from the field in the game’s first 16 minutes.

“They did to us what we did to everybody last year,” Logan coach Kevin Gertz said. “First half, I think we shot 15 shots is what Holly had us for, but we got to be able to take care of the basketball.”

“They sped us up, and instead of realizing to slow down to help get the ball up the floor we went faster,” Gertz said. “That is why you press, to make people play faster than they are capable, and we weren’t capable of playing as fast as we were trying to play.”

Following the game, Gertz addressed his teams’ inability to take care of the basketball in the locker room with his squad.

“That is what I told them in there (locker room), not screaming or hollering anything," Gertz said. "You got to be able to do the basic things. Got to be able to dribble, got to be able to pass, you got to be able to catch! We didn’t do any of those very good today.”

The opening quarter saw two lead changes. Logan held a brief 5-4 lead following Halle Crouse’s 3-pointer, but the lead was short lived as East Fairmont’s Kenly Rogers answered with a 3 of her own to put the Lady Bees up 7-5.

Roger’s 3 was the start of a 12-4 run that gave the Lady Bees a 16-9 lead after one quarter. At one point between the first and second quarter, East Fairmont went on a 13-0 run and led Logan, 27-12, following a 3-pointer from McKenzie Moyer.

Logan closed the gap to 12 points, 31-19, with a 10-4 run of their own capped off by a pair of free throws from Addyson Amick, but the Lady Wildcats could get no closer and trailed 33-19 at halftime.

Turnovers, poor shooting and inability to get back on transition were key factors in the halftime deficit.

“We prepared ourselves to play this style for the 20 practices that we had,” East Fairmont coach James Beckman said. “The key points of emphasis for us were hard pressure, rebounding, controlling the glass and get out and running.”

Logan trailed by 13 points,36-23, in the third quarter, but the East Fairmont scored the final seven points of the quarter and led 43-23 after three quarters.

East Fairmont scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to push its lead to 29 points, 52-23, before Logan closed the game on a 7-2 run to set the final margin.

“We hit some big shots in the second quarter and put together a nice little run towards the end of the third quarter,” Beckman said. “Those were two big runs.”

Rogers led East Fairmont with 20 points. The sophomore guard knocked down eight field goals including three 3-pointers. Morgan Cochran finished with 10 points and Emma Moore had nine points to lead a balance scoring attack for the Lady Bees.

East Fairmont shot 34.3 percent (23 for 67) from the field and was 5 of 12 from 3-point range.

“Team offense is better than me offense,” Beckman said. “It is a collective group and if we can continue to do that every game then we will be fine.”

Natalie Blankenship led Logan with eight points. Payton Butcher and Crouse each had six points for the Lady Wildcats, who made seven of 42 field attempts and was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.

“We didn’t get a chance to get into any kind of offense, and when we did, we rushed shots,” Gertz said. “We made zero jumpers, made three 3’s in the first half and may have made one in the second half, but we must have missed a dozen layups.”

East Fairmont (1-0) returns to action Thursday when they host Big 10 rival Preston in the Lady Bees 2022-23 home opener.

“Conference opponent and a rival for as long as I have been on the staff for boys and girls,” Beckman said. “It is going to be a big game, it’s the first conference game for us and we are looking forward to the home opener for us.”

East Fairmont’s margin of victory will likely open some eyes across the state of West Virginia and may jump the Lady Bees from their preseason No. 8 ranking when the first set of rankings are released the first week of January.

“We are worried about us, we are worried about one game at a time,” Beckman said. “Our next focus is on Preston County.”

East Fairmont is looking for the school’s first state tournament berth in 15 years. The Lady Bees were eliminated in the sectional tournament by Philip Barbour last season.

"Proud for them, for putting four quarters together, for showing grit and showing toughness out there,” Beckman said. “I couldn’t be more stoked for the effort they showed for East Fairmont.”

Gertz said he is looking for improvement in Logan’s next game Tuesday night at home against Cardinal Conference foe Herbert Hoover.

“I just want to get better every day, and we lost a ton from last year,” Gertz said. “The two things we lost the most were leadership and ball handling.”

The Lady Huskies, under first year head coach Scott Garretson, are 0-2 after losses to Class AA co-No. 7 Chapmanville and Liberty (Harrison).

“I was where he (Garretson) was at 13 years ago, and he is trying to change the entire style of how they play,” Gertz said. “This coach is trying to play more up tempo and trying to play with a lot more pressure.”

“I don’t think they can put the pressure on like we saw today, but if they do it is going to be another struggle,” Gertz said. “I look for it to be a good game, I hope we can bounce back, and even our record at 1-1 but we got to play much better to do so.”

East Fairmont 54, Logan 30

East Fairmont (1-0)

Haymond 1 0-2 2, Moore 4 0-0 9, Myers 1 2-5 9, Moyer 1 0-0 3,

Fridley 1 2-5 4, Rogers 8 1-1 20, Jenkins 2 0-0 4, Cochran 5 0-0 10.

Totals: 23-67 3-9 54.

Logan (0-1)

Blankenship 2 3-4 8, Amick 1 2-2 5, Crouse 1 3-7 6, Adkins 1 0-0 3,

Butcher 1 4-4 6, Mosby 1 0-0 2. Totals: 7-42 12-17 30.

East Fairmont 16 17 10 11- 54

Logan 9 10 4 7- 30

3-point field goals- East Fairmont 5-12 (Moyer, Moore, Rogers 3), Logan 4-8 (Blankenship, Amick, Crouse, Adkins).

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