Spring Valley to face Logan
CHARLESTON -- When Logan girls basketball sophomore standout Shayna Gore picked up her fourth foul late in the third quarter of Thursday's Class AAA state tournament quarterfinal the Wildcats had a slim lead and the game was in a crucial stretch.
It appeared the Wildcats were going to have to weather a stormy time to begin the fourth quarter.
Logan had the perfect calm to go with the storm, however.
Senior Hannah Tothe led Logan through its crucial stretch and Gore matched her career-high with 36 points to lead the Wildcats to a 77-66 win over Princeton.
"We've played four games and (Shayna's) been in foul trouble in all four," Logan head coach Kevin Gertz said. "Every time we've taken her out, Hannah has slowed our team down and actually we've expanded the lead every single time.
"I think tomorrow, we're just going to sit her and not play her."
Of course, Gertz was joking about sitting Gore -- it was just part of the smiles and laughs associated with Logan picking up the first state girls basketball tournament victory in the school's history.
But while everyone was all smiles during interviews following the contest, the beginning of the fourth quarter was anything but for the Wildcats.
With 14 seconds left in the third quarter, a turnover led to a run-out for Princeton's McKenzie Akers and Gore reached in to commit her fourth foul with Logan leading by just three.
It was enough to get Gertz' blood boiling as Gore came to the bench.
"She's one of the biggest idiots I've ever coached in my life," Gertz said with a smile. "She's not going to tell you what I sometimes call her, but she's a great girl. She's very aggressive and she gets frustrated and she commits stupid fouls -- she did it twice today."
Enter Tothe, the biggest senior influence on the team.
With Gore on the bench to start the fourth quarter, Tothe led Logan on a 13-3 run that included her own 3-pointer and assists to Kyra Cline and Monica Mitchell for baskets that pushed the lead to 68-56 when Gore returned with 4:33 left.
"I'm like the Mother out on the floor, ,,," Tothe said. "If I lose my head, then we'll all lose it, so I have to be there to pick everybody up. Sometimes I have to jerk Shayna by the shoulders and look her straight in the face and say 'Would you please listen to me?'"
Princeton was not done after Logan's run, however, as Akers shrugged off a rough night from the floor and willed her team back into the game. Akers' 3-pointer and a steal and layup by Jessica Inman cut the deficit to 70-64 with 1:51 left.
The Tigers had a chance to get closer off a missed one-and-one opportunity, but an intentional foul was called on Princeton's Khadija Payne following a rebound under the basket.
Princeton would get no closer.
Akers finished with 17 points for Princeton, but the Marshall University recruit struggled to a 6-of-30 shooting performance.
"I think we were all kind of overwhelmed by the atmosphere," Akers said. "We've never been here. But we're thankful we got this far. We got down 14 points, but we're a never-die team and we wanted to get back in it."
With the win, Logan (19-6) now meets Spring Valley in Friday's 5:30 p.m. Class AAA semifinal. The matchup will be a rematch of a Region IV, Section 2 championship, which Spring Valley won 68-67.
On the biggest stage in West Virginia high school basketball, Gore shined throughout for the Wildcats, scoring 20 points in a tight first half, which ended in a 34-all deadlock.
After being limited to just nine points in the Region IV co-final, Gore got off to a strong start for the Wildcats, who jumped to an 18-6 lead midway through the first.
However, Marissa Mullins scored in a flurry for Princeton to lead a 10-1 run to end the quarter with Logan's lead cut to three.
With Akers struggling from the floor, she hit teammates in open spots for buckets to keep Princeton in it.
Princeton also got 17 points from Hannah Preservati along with 12 and 10 respectively from Jessica Inman and Marissa Mullins in the loss, which ends their season at 19-6.
LOGAN 19 15 20 23 -- 77: Gore 36, Mitchell 18, Tothe 11, Toppings 6, Cline 3, Collins 1, Kimler 2.
PRINCETON 16 18 17 15 -- 66: Akers 17, Mullins 10, Payne 6, Preservati 17, Inman 12, Surface 2, Lambert 2.