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Grant Traylor: Logan girls enjoying big stage

Mar. 08, 2013 @ 12:01 AM

As Logan's players walked into the post-game interviews Thursday following their 77-66 win over Princeton in the Class AAA girls basketball state tournament quarterfinals, they laughed and joked with coach Kevin Gertz and soaked in the moment.

Everyone knows of Logan's steeped basketball tradition on the boys' side, but not many realize the girls are just building a name for themselves.

Logan's triumph Thursday was the first state tournament victory in school history.

"It means a lot to be one of the last four standing in the Class AAA field where the year before my first year we were 144th in the Metro Index," Gertz said.

What makes the Logan team special is its interesting dynamic, which has become evident throughout the season and was on full display in the interview room.

There is no coach-speak or clichés with the Wildcats.

They are raw, unscripted, unrehearsed and unplugged.

Fresh off her 36-point performance in the win, Shayna Gore spent much of the press conference cracking jokes at Gertz alongside senior teammate Hannah Tothe, who was seated next to freshman center Monica Mitchell.

Gertz didn't even hesitate on firing back, making for a fun 10 minutes of entertainment for the media.

"We're free and easy," Gertz said. "I say a lot that I shouldn't say -- boys or girls -- but I have as much fun as anyone on the planet."

The team has taken Gertz' attitude and care-free nature to the court this season, and lately, the results have been impressive.

Sure, the team is as intense as any in Charleston, but if there is a turnover or missed shot -- or a bad foul in the case of Gore on Thursday afternoon -- they don't miss a beat and they certainly don't let it leak into the next play.

They just keep right on doing what they are there to do -- win a basketball game.

Forget the crowd, forget the larger court, forget the atmosphere.

When it comes down to it, they are still going to be the Logan Wildcats and it is still basketball.

Basketball is made to be fun and they are having the time of their lives right now.

Logan is a team full of dynamic personalities -- each being a microcosm of what is seen on the floor.

Gore is the energetic, yet stubborn one who brings Gertz from cheers to reaching for his heart medication in the blink of an eye.

Tothe is the glue that keeps the team together with her motherly instincts and her care-taker type personality. That also goes for Gertz, who she tries to keep calm as well.

She even corrected and clarified Gertz' statement when her coach was describing the team's easy-going nature about joking with the team and their parents.

Then, there was Mitchell, the silent freshman in the corner who laughed at each statement and is always in the mix when the madness ensues.

And it was madness on Thursday.

It was the first state tourney win in school history in front of a large group of Logan fans who took the day off from work to come join in the event.

At day's end, they were all celebrating, taking in the moment and laughing off the difficult times.

It was exactly what the state tournament should be for everyone involved.

RIVALRY RENEWED: Logan's win sets up a third matchup with Spring Valley this season and a rematch of the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 championship, which Spring Valley won 68-67 on Feb. 22.

Gertz and good friend Bo Miller, Spring Valley's head coach, will face off in the state semifinals -- an aspect that pleases the Logan coach.

"I'm glad to be moving on and facing my buddy Bo Miller tomorrow and Spring Valley," Gertz said. "We'll be there in the state semifinals."

Two of Logan's top three point totals allowed on the season came at the hands of the top-seed Timberwolves, who are coming off an 84-60 win over Capital.

Spring Valley earned a 76-47 road win over Logan on Feb. 6 and then got the one-point win in the section championship two weeks ago.

Gore said the Wildcats are looking forward to a third meeting with a state championship game berth on the line.

She added that the familiarity with Spring Valley and seeing players on the other side of the court who she knows actually will help both teams settle in for the pressure-packed contest.

"It makes it easier because they know everything about us and we know everything about them," Gore said. "A lot of pressure will be off and we'll just go play."

GLENN LEADS BRIDGEPORT: Bridgeport's Miki Glenn scored 33 of her team's 54 points as the Indians advanced past Lincoln with a 54-34 win on Thursday afternoon.

Glenn is in the running for the West Virginia State Player of the Year award with Huntington St. Joe's Mychal Johnson.

Most of Glenn's damage came at the foul line where she smashed the Class AA tournament records for free throws and free throws attempted.

Glenn finished 19-of-23 from the foul line with many opportunities coming in the second half with Lincoln trying to foul to get back in the contest.

The mark for free throws breaks the old mark of 16 set by Braxton County's Jennie Cunningham against University in 1989. The free throws attempted mark previously belonged to Baileysville's Donna Bailey, who had 23 attempts against Petersburg in 1992.

Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter @GrantTraylor.