Wildcats rally to stun HHS
HUNTINGTON -- Logan Wildcats girls basketball coach Kevin Gertz had quadruple-bypass surgery in October.
Sitting on the bench in Huntington High's gymnasium after his team had come back from 22 points down to beat the Highlanders, 56-55, with Huntington High getting two looks at the basket before time expired, he was reflective.
"Maybe this isn't the best thing for me to be doing stress-wise," he said with a grin.
After a half, the Wildcats looked like they were done.
Huntington High's Kiana Evans was 9-10 from the floor, and had 20 points. The Highlanders were getting easy transition buckets on turnovers and rebounds, and Huntington High led 36-14. The Wildcats were also 2-13 from the three-point line.
In the second half, Huntington High came out in a zone, and the three started falling for Logan.
The Wildcats opened the third quarter with a 10-1 run, and had drawn within two by the start of the fourth.
With 50 seconds left in the game, Kyra Cline drained a three, one of six from her in the second half, to give Logan its first lead of the night, 55-54. She ended up with a game-high 27 points.
"When Kyra gets rolling, she can close her eyes and drop-kick that thing in the basket," Gertz said.
A single free throw extended the lead to two, when Highlanders forward Ericka Budd was fouled with five seconds on the clock.
Budd missed both free throws, but teammate Alexis Williams was fouled on the rebound.
Williams hit one of two to cut the lead to one with three seconds left, and the Wildcats turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play, giving Huntington High the ball under its own basket.
Evans, who was held to four points in the second half, couldn't hit a shot off the inbound, and a put-back by Williams hit the side of the backboard, as the Wildcats pulled off a stunner of an upset.
The big difference in the second half was mainly that the Wildcats shot 70 percent, Gertz said, partially eliminating Huntington High's transition game simply by making shots.
The Wildcats also cut down on turnovers, and went to a box-and-one on defense to try to limit Evans.
"We don't have any athletes like her, and this whole Huntington High team is so fast and long," he said. "(Evans) is unbelievable. She's killed us for years. We just tried to change things up. I thought maybe we could just drive her nuts enough to get her off her game."
Huntington High head coach Lonnie Lucas said the Highlanders needed to look no further than their performance at the foul line to find where things went wrong.
"We were 13 of 27," he said. "You go to the line, you miss foul shots, especially at the end, we had the opportunities. We're young, we're just coming along."
It's the first loss of the season for the Highlanders, who fall to 5-1, while Logan improves to 2-2.
Things got a little ugly off the court late in the game, when two Logan fans were thrown out of the gym for verbally abusing the officials.
Gertz said the incident was unfortunate.
"They're passionate, and I know they're embarrassed and their kids are embarrassed," he said. "If you're in this long enough you learn that you either win or you got cheated. I say some things out here I shouldn't say to officials. I've got to do a better job than that.
"It's a shame that happened. I know they're sorry and it doesn't take away from the fact this was a fantastic basketball game."
LOGAN 7 7 25 17 -- 56: Cline 27, Monica Mitchell 12, Toppings 7, Gore 9, Tothe 2.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 18 18 5 14 -- 55: Evans 24, Congleton 9, Johnson 6, Williams 5, Budd 6, Gibson 5.