HHS, Midland win
HUNTINGTON -- Just how strong is the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 girls basketball tournament?
The same section produced two state tournament members in the 2012-13 season with one being a semifinalist and the other being the Class AAA runner-up, and each had their two top scorers returning for the 2013-14 season.
And both saw their seasons come to an end in their first postseason game of the 2013-14 campaign on Wednesday night.
Huntington High's pressure defense forced 24 turnovers en route to a 67-51 win over Logan while Cabell Midland's post presence proved too tough for top-seed Spring Valley in a 58-50 upset of the Timberwolves.
"Somebody that had a shot at a title is going home (in this section)," Logan coach Kevin Gertz said after his team fell to Huntington High. "Two teams that had a shot at the title went home tonight."
In each of the contests, the victors avenged a regular-season loss in the time that it mattered most.
Huntington High had fallen in a road contest to Logan early in the season as the Wildcats were able to maintain a balanced scoring offense en route to a victory.
On this night, the Highlanders' defense was the key, forcing Logan into 24 turnovers -- many in the backcourt -- while not allowing Logan's Monica Mitchell to get into an offensive rhythm.
The defensive catalyst for the Highlanders was freshman Jordyn Dawson, who nearly finished with a triple-double in the contest.
Dawson had 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine steals to lead Huntington High (19-4) in the win.
Logan led 22-16 in the second quarter following a pair of free throws by Shayna Gore, but after a basket by Dazha Congleton, Dawson had three consecutive steals and layups in a 30-second stretch to give the Highlanders the lead.
"She made a big difference," Huntington High coach Lonnie Lucas said. "We dictated how they brought the ball down the floor and we forced some turnovers. Jordyn's a big key. She plays well and gets on a roll when she stays out of foul trouble and she did that tonight."
After a Gore layup tied the game at 31 on the first possession of the second half, the Highlanders ripped off a 14-0 run to seize control, forcing seven turnovers during the stretch by not allowing Logan to get the ball to Gore.
As hot as Gore was on Wednesday night, it was the saving grace for the Highlanders.
Gore finished with 43 points -- including all 22 Logan points in the second half -- but the Wildcats got little production from anyone else in the loss.
"Shayna had 43, but that's bad," Gertz said. "It's great for her -- outstanding -- but when she scores all but eight of your team's points, you aren't going to win. This season, in all reality, we had four people in double-figures every game. We had four people score tonight.
"Look at when you turn the ball over 24 times. If you score half the time you have it and get a shot, which I'm sure we did, you are talking about 24 points. If you give 24 points away, you're going to get beat."
Congleton also had 16 points for the Highlanders, who will face Cabell Midland in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 championship on Friday night.
The Knights overcame a nine-point halftime deficit by out-gritting Spring Valley in the second half en route to an upset of the Timberwolves, who were coming off an MSAC Championship just four days prior.
The Timberwolves led 43-39 with 6:30 remaining before Cabell Midland went on a 12-0 run to take control of the contest in a four-minute stretch.
As the game wore on, the Knights proved to be the aggressors, getting the ball inside and dominating down in the post and in rebounding to overcome the deficit.
Once again, the post duo of Sierra Jordan and Emily Pitkin proved to be too tall to overcome. Jordan finished with 10 of her 16 points in the second half and added nine rebounds for Cabell Midland (16-5) while Pitkin had 10 of her 13 points in the second half and finished with 13 rebounds.
Pitkin also avoided foul trouble after going to the bench late in the first half with three fouls.
"I just told them that we weren't going to back down," Cabell Midland coach Matt Adkins said. "We're going to attack as much as they do and we did a good job. (Pitkin) did a good job. We told her to be aggressive and to get her hands up, but not swat at the ball."
Foul trouble was a factor for the Timberwolves, who saw leaders Madison Morris and Sarah Kelly end the night with four fouls and never get into an offensive rhythm.
The result was a Spring Valley offense that was not aggressive throughout the evening and relied heavily on 3-pointers, which didn't connect.
With Pitkin and Jordan dominating the boards underneath, it was one shot and out for Spring Valley for much of the second half.
"We got in foul trouble and we played not to lose and not to foul," Spring Valley coach Bo Miller said. "We lost our aggressiveness."
Kelly, the Timberwolves' point guard, picked up her second foul late in the first half and was forced to the bench while Morris also picked up a second in early in the second quarter and had to sit.
Spring Valley's Jaida Adkins and Allie McGraw came in and provided a lift to maintain the lead and the Timberwolves went to the locker room leading 31-22.
Morris finished with 14 points for Spring Valley, but was limited to four rebounds -- eight below her season totals.
The Timberwolves end their season at 19-5 while Logan's season comes to a close at 12-8.
Following Friday's championship, both Huntington High and Cabell Midland will advance to the Class AAA, Region IV final. The winner will host a region final while the loser will hit the road to face the Section 1 winner.
LOGAN 14 15 7 15 -- 51: Gore 43, Mitchell 4, Cline 3, Adkins 1.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 13 18 17 19 -- 67: Johnson 5, Sheffield 7, Congleton 16, Dawson 26, Budd 4, Murphy 5, Harmon 3, Turner 1.
CABELL MIDLAND 11 11 15 21 -- 58: Bias 8, Haggerty 7, Alderman 8, Si. Jordan 16, Pitkin 13, Stephenson 4.
SPRING VALLEY 17 14 8 11 -- 50: Kelly 9, Lemons 5, Heck 2, Morris 14, Ratcliff 8, McGraw 8, Adkins 4.
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