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Wildcats and Bees meet in Tuesday night's Class AA finale

Dalanee Hatcher, Logan High School mascot, had plenty to jump for during last week's Region IV championship against Ripley at the Willie Akers Arena. The Wildcats defeated the Vikings 50-33 to clinch a berth in this week's Class AAA state tournament (Photo by Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography).

Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports

CHARLESTON   Having won eight straight games, Logan is one of the hottest teams entering tonight's Class AAA state tournament.

The Wildcats, seeded fifth in Class AAA, will try to make it nine consecutive victories with a win over fourth-seeded East Fairmont in the nightcap of the Class AAA quarterfinals at Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center, which is scheduled to tip at 9 p.m.

Logan, who has not lost since dropping back to back games to state tournament teams, South Charleston and Chapmanville, on February 8 and 9, advanced to its second state tournament in three seasons with a 50-33 win over Ripley in one of two Class AAA Region IV co-finals last Wednesday.

East Fairmont has won nine of its last 11 games and beat Lincoln in one of two Region II co-finals to qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2014.

The Bees started the year 1-3, but won 17 of its next 21 games to take an 18-7 record into Tuesday night's quarterfinal matchup against Logan.

Both, East Fairmont and Logan, have been battle tested against a schedule that features nine state tournament teams. The Bees were 4-5 against state tournament teams while Logan had a 2-7 record, however, four of the Wildcats seven losses came in overtime.

When comparing schedules of the two schools, East Fairmont has the best win of any team in the Class AAA field. The Bees handed top seed Fairmont Senior its only loss of the season, defeating the Polar Bears, 59-55, in double overtime on Valentine's Day at Fairmont Senior.

To say it has been an up-and-down season for Logan would be an understatement. The Wildcats won their first four games to start the season and then lost its next six games to teams ranked in their respective classes.

Five of the six losses came to teams that qualified for the state tournament and four of the six were in overtime. Only one of the six games was decided by double figures, a 70-45 loss to Class AAAA No. 1 Spring Mills, while five losses came by a combined 18 points.

East Fairmont is making its seventh state tournament appearance in school history. The Bees have just one state tournament win, a 58-44 win over Parkersburg in the 2001 Class AAA quarterfinals, in its 104 year old history. Only once has East Fairmont advanced past the quarterfinals, which occurred during the 2001 season when they lost to Capital, 76-63, in the semifinals.

Logan averages 59 points a contest and allows 51.9 points per game. The Bees are one of the top three defensive teams in the Class AAA, only allowing 47.8 points this season.

The big three of Julius Clancy, Cole Blankenship and Matt Hatfield account for 70 percent of the Wildcats offense. Other contributors for the Wildcats include guard McCormick Ilderton and forwards Ivan Miller and Zayden Sherod.

Ilderton had 13 points in the regional championship win over Ripley last week. Ilderton can score in a variety of ways and is a good defender and one of the Wildcats better passers.

Miller plays in the post, but score away from the basket and expand the defense allowing for cutters while Sherod is Logan's sixth man and physical force on the inside and on the boards.

Tuesday's winner will face the winner of top seed and two-time reigning Class AAA champion Fairmont Senior (24-1) and eighth-seeded Hampshire (10-14) Thursday evening at 7:15 p.m. in one of two Class AA semifinals.

Second-seed Shady Spring and third-seeded Nitro will meet in the other semifinal on Thursday at 11:15 a.m.

Shady eliminated seventh-seeded North Marion 52-30, outscoring the Huskies 33-16 in the second half to advance to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive season.

Nitro, who won the Cardinal Conference with a perfect 14-0 league mark, defeated conference rival and sixth-seeded Sissonville 65-54 in Tuesday's first game of the morning session. The Wildcats overcame a two-point first quarter deficit to advance to the semifinals for the second time in the past four seasons.

Friday's winners will meet Saturday morning at 10 a.m. to crown the Class AAA state champion.



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