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Spring Valley girls claim section title

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 12:32 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Brooke Heck was under a microscope in the final minute of Spring Valley's Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 title match with Logan in girls' basketball Friday night, going from hero to goat and back again as the Timberwolves pulled off the 68-67 victory.

The sophomore forward hit two huge free throws to put Spring Valley up 68-64 with 50 seconds on the clock. She missed four more in the remainder of the game.

"I was kind of nervous, I just knew I had to hit them and they just wouldn't go," Heck said.

She was trying to make the shots with a pro-Logan crowd on its feet and shouting in Huntington High School's gym.

After Heck missed two with 40 seconds to go, Logan's Hannah Tothe, who had only one other field goal on the night, calmly drained a long-distance 3-pointer to get the Wildcats within one.

A missed layup gave Logan the ball under its own basket with six seconds remaining.

Enter redemption.

Heck stepped in front of the inbound pass, making the steal and getting fouled again with three seconds remaining.

"I knew I had to make a steal," Heck said. "I had to stay in front so they couldn't get off a three."

Logan couldn't control the rebound off Heck's ensuing miss from the stripe, and all Spring Valley had to do was get the ball in as the Timberwolves claimed their first section title in a decade.

That means Spring Valley will host Winfield at 7 p.m., Tuesday, while Logan will play at St. Albans.

"It's my first sectional win with this team, and it's a great feeling," Heck said.

Through all the madness of the final seconds, head coach Bo Miller wasn't surprised to see his team make a defensive play to secure the win.

"Our defense is what got us here," Miller said. "We tried to give it away with some uncharacteristic turnovers, that maybe had something to do with their defense or maybe the fact that we play a lot of sophomores.

"I think we could've handled the ball better, but we played hard. Win by 30 or win by one, you still get the win."

The Timberwolves couldn't apply much of their staple defensive pressure in the second half, as just about every player was battling foul trouble. Heck and starting sisters Mackenzie and Madison Morris all had four fouls by the mid-fourth quarter in a tightly-whistled game.

Logan's Shayna Gore scored a game-high 36 points, and scored 8 points from the line in the fourth quarter alone.

Wildcats coach Kevin Gertz praised his sophomore guard on her effort, though he noted that Gore and a few other players suffered from fatigue late in the game.

"That's my fault for going soft on them because they're girls," Gertz said. "If we make the state tournament, they're going to think I'm a track coach."

The always colorful Gertz said he got a little angry with his team for crying in the locker room after the loss.

"To me, if you're crying, it's because something's over," he said. "This isn't over. We've still got regionals and we've proven we can play with the best teams in the state on any given night. I'm really proud of this team."

Logan upset Huntington High, 78-70, on the Highlanders' own floor to get to the sectional final.

The Wildcats led the Timberwolves after the first quarter, 19-18. But a bucket from Madison Morris, who led Spring Valley with 22 points and 13 rebounds, at the beginning of the second quarter put the Timberwolves ahead, and though Logan trailed by as many as 10 and as little as one, the WIldcats would never tie or take the lead again in the game.

As for Spring Valley, Miller said the team is looking forward to getting to play in its own gym for a chance to make the state tournament.

"That's a program-builder for us," Miller said. "There's only been one sectional title in this program's history and that was 10 years ago, so this is something we've been working toward and striving for."

LOGAN 19 13 12 23 -- 67: Gore 36, Monica Mitchell 18, Cline 6, Tothe 5, Adkins 2.

SPRING VALLEY 18 24 11 15 -- 68: Mad. Morris 22, Sarah Kelly 12, Heck 10, Lemons 9, Ratcliff 8, Mac. Morris 7.