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Wildcats Overcome First Half Struggles, Pull Away From Pioneers In Second Half

Lethargic, that is how Logan coach Zach Green summed up the Wildcats performance in the first half of Tuesday night’s victory over the Wayne Pioneers.

After coming out sluggish and only leading by seven at halftime, the Class AAA number one Wildcats turned up the intensity in the second half outscoring Wayne, 48-24, on their way to an 86-55 victory Tuesday night at Willie Akers Arena.

“We had no energy in the first half,” Green said. “Energy wise we did a better job in the second half.”

Wayne had no answer for Logan’s Jackson Tackett and Jaxon Cogar on the inside as the duo combined for 41 of Logan’s 84 points on 17-of-19 shooting from the field.

“We have very little post-up players, we are young and small and anytime Logan wanted a basket they went inside,” Wayne coach Sam Cochenour said. “Logan is a tough team, and they are number one in AAA for a reason.”

Tackett led Logan with 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting while Cogar added 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and hauled down a team high seven rebounds.

“They have been really good for us, and they both feed off of each other really well,” Green said. “Both are skilled guys, and they can score in a multitude of ways.”

Garrett Williamson posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 assists while Scotty Browning added 15 points for the Wildcats.

“He (Garrett) has been phenomenal over the last four or five games,” Green said. “His floor game has just been unreal, and he leads us in a lot of different categories.”

Logan made 36-of-58 attempts from the field shooting 62% for the contest but was just 5-of-19 from 3-point range. The Wildcats missed their first seven 3-point attempts in the first before hitting 5-of-7 attempts in the third quarter.

“Good 3-point teams struggle at times,” Green said. “We got out, ran the floor and that pushed the game open.”

Wayne was able to stay with Logan despite the Wildcats jumping out to an early 10-3 lead before the Pioneers responded with three straight triples for a 12-10 lead prompting Green to call a timeout with 4:30 in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats closed the quarter on a 12-3 run and led 24-15 after one quarter of play.

The Pioneers were 4-of-4 from 3-point range in the quarter and carried that momentum into the second quarter outscoring the Wildcats 16-14 to cut the deficit to 38-31 at halftime.

The Pioneers shot 50 percent (12-of-24) in the first half knocking down 6-of-11 3-point attempts but due to the lack of an inside presence the Pioneers were just 6-of-13 were inside the 3-point line.

“You live and die by the 3,” Cochenour said. “Eventually you start missing a few of them.”

Logan stretched its advantage to 13, 51-38, on Williamson’s 3 with 4:29 remaining in the third quarter, but once again Wayne answered back by knocking down back-to-back 3’s. The first one from Zane Adkins and the ladder from Isaac Meddings to close the gap to seven, 51-44.

Logan answered with a 10-0 run to end the third quarter and led 61-44 after three quarters of play.

Wayne cooled off in the final eight minutes of play and shot just 34 percent from the field in the second half and was 5-of-16 from 3 in the half.

“We switched up some zone, switched up our defenses in the second half and I think that threw them off a little bit.” Green said.

Logan shot 67.8 percent in the second half connecting on 19-of-28 shots thanks in part to turnovers and a transition offense off missed shots that resulted in high percentage shots, the majority of which coming from within five feet or fewer.

“Some of that was because of our defense where we were small and everything,” Cochenour said. “We played man and we were handling our own in the man.”

Logan’s pressure defense and full court trapping forced seven of Wayne’s 17 turnovers in the fourth quarter and eventually wore down the youthful Pionners.

“There press wore us down and a lot of those turnovers were a factor of youth,” Cochenour said. “We can’t quit, and I don’t think we did quit but we just got tired because we are young.”

Adkins led Wayne with 15 points knocking down 5-of-11 3-point attempts. Dillion May added 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

“Of our top seven, three of them are ninth grades and they are still used to middle school basketball,” Cochenour said. “It is the youth that causes us to get beat by 31 and after the game I told them welcome to the Cardinal Conference.”

After starting season 5-0, the Pioneers have lost four consecutive games and fall to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in the Cardinal Conference. The Pioneers return home Friday night and will host Class AAA No. 6 Herbert Hoover.

“We will see what we can do with Hoover Friday,” Cochenour said. “Every game we got to play and when we don’t play teams that are number one in the state in AAA then we got to have confidence that we can win that game.”

Logan improves to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Cardinal Conference. The Wildcats will return to action Saturday night when they travel to Beckley to face rival Woodrow Wilson in the New River CTC Invitational.

It will be the first road game this season for Logan, but Green said his club is up for the challenge.

“We want to be tested, we want to be challenged and we want to play in tough games,” Green said. “I think that is what makes good teams and I think that is how we are going to find out a lot about this is getting on the road and playing in those games.”

Woodrow Wilson started the season with wins over rival Greenbrier East and Class AA No. 3 Bluefield but the Flying Eagles have dropped their last three including Tuesday night’s 55-50 setback at the hands of Class AAAA co-no. 8 Huntington.

Green said with rivalry games you can always throw records out the window.

“It doesn’t matter what records are they have talent, and we know they have talent and that they play a tough 4-A schedule,” Green said. “We know we can’t go in there and do what we did tonight and expect to win.”

Saturday’s contest is the final game of the 2022 New River CTC Invitational and scheduled to tip off at 8:15 p.m. at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center formerly known as the Raleigh County Armony.

“We have to go in there ready to go after it and ready to get after those guys,” Green said. “The Armony is a familiar place for us, and these guys have played there and it’s kind of open like the fieldhouse.

Logan 86, Wayne 55

Wayne (5-4)

Ronnie Staley 2-3 0-0 5, Ryan Maynard 2-5 1-2 6, Braedon Eves 2-4 0-0 4, Dillion May 5-8 0-0 11,

Zane Adkins 5-13 0-0 15, Ike Meddings 3-13 0-0 9, Peyton Marcum 0-0 1-2 1, Cooper Adkins 1-2 0-0 2, Isaiah Lowe 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 21-50 2-4 55.

Logan (5-0)

Scotty Browning 7-16 0-0 15, Garrett Williamson 8-13 3-4 21, Aiden Slack 1-3 0-2 3,

Jaxon Cogar 8-9 2-2 19, Jackson Tackett 9-10 4-4 22, Julius Clancy 1-1 0-0 2,

McCormick Ilderton 1-1 0-0 2, Gabe Workman 0-2 0-0 0, Chase Hatfield 0-1 0-0 0,

Chance Maynard 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 36-58 9-12 86.

Wayne 15 16 13 11- 55

Logan 24 14 23 25- 86

3-Point Field Goals_Wayne 11-27 (Staley 1-1, Maynard 1-1, May 1-2, Adkins 5-11, Meddings 3-12), Logan 5-19 (Browning 1-6, Williamson 2-6, Slack 1-3, Cogar 1-1, Workman 0-1, Hatfield 0-1). Rebounds_Wayne 20 (Maynard 7), Logan 27 (Cogar 7), Assists_Wayne 12 (Staley 5), Logan 21 (Williamson 10). Total Fouls_Wayne 14, Logan 10. Fouled out_None. Technicals_None.

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