WILLIAMSON — It was a successful debut for Allan Hatcher and the Logan High School basketball team on Tuesday night as the Wildcats routed Mingo Central 64-40 at the Williamson Fieldhouse.
Hatcher, a Logan graduate and a former LHS assistant coach under Willie Akers back in the 1970s, returned to Williamson, where he led the Wolfpack to the 1983 Class AA state championship.
Hatcher, who replaced his son Mark Hatcher as Logan’s coach, had coached at Chapmanville Regional High School the last three seasons.
On the flip side, it was a sour debut for new Mingo Central coach Garland Thompson, who came over from in-county Tug Valley High School after former MCHS coach Brad Napier bolted for Chapmanville to replace Hatcher.
Logan (1-0), powered by a barrage of 3-pointers from Will Akers and Kyle Porter, particularly in the first half, led 17-11 after one quarter and 33-20 at the half and never looked back.
The Wildcats then led 45-30 after three and coasted. Logan hit eight 3-pointers on the night.
Mingo Central (0-1) was without key players Stevie Hammond and Keyshawn Rhodes, who did not dress. Hammond is healing from a collarbone injury suffered in football, while Rhodes had emergency appendectomy surgery about a weeek ago. Both are starting guards for the Miners.
Akers, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, came off the bench and led all scorers with 16 points. He drained four 3-pointers.
Augustine Chukwu-Noe, a 6-4 senior and Nigerian National, was big down in the paint as he tallied 14 points — 11 of those coming in the second half. Porter also reached double digits in scoring with 11 points.
Coach Hatcher said Logan played well for the most part.
“We were struggling there for a little while,” Hatcher said after the game. “But Will got us going and made some shots and we were up 13 points at halftime. We were trying to get the ball inside on their zone. Coach Thompson does a good job. Then we got into a groove and wore them down with their depth. It’s the first game and we’ve got a lot of work to do but I thought that our kids played hard. We just have got to play smarter and get better.”
Braxton Goff added nine points and Kahlil Murphy and T.J. Mullins had five apiece for Logan. Jamal Minter had two and Levi Davis and Terrance Chapman each had one point.
Logan dressed just 10 players for the game and nine of them scored.
For Mingo Central, Dalton Hatfield led the way with 14 points. Garret Moore had 12. Chaz Farley had three points and Tyler Grimmett, Kenny Allen, Daniel Buchanan, Isaiah May and Austin Banks all had two each. Deonte Joplin had one point.
Buchanan, a 6-6 junior, and Grimmett, a 6-5 junior, are both transfers from Man High School.
The game was close early but Porter’s 19-foot jumper put Logan on top for good, 10-8, with 3:03 left in the first quarter.
Later, an old-fashioned three-point play by Murphy gave Logan a 17-8 edge with 1:26 to go.
At the 6:57 mark of the second quarter, Murphy’s nice touch pass to Akers for an easy lay-in gave Logan a 19-12 lead.
Porter’s 3-pointer then put the Wildcats on top 23-12 with 5:50 to go until halftime. Another 3 by Porter made it 26-14.
Then it was Akers, who canned a 3 to give Logan a 29-16 lead with 3:06 to go until halftime.
With 39 ticks remaining, Akers drilled another 3-pointer as Logan led 33-18.
“We’ve got three or four kids that can shoot the ball,” Hatcher said. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do but I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Up 13 at the intermission, Mingo Central was able to close the gap to 10 at 35-25 before a 10-2 Logan run put the Cats ahead 45-27 with 2:32 to go. Goff’s driving bucket finished off the run.
The Miners got to within 45-30 with Hatfield’s topside 3-pointer but that was as close as Mingo Central could get.
Chukwu-Noe then showed his improved range as he canned a 3 with 1:19 left, giving Logan a 48-30 lead after three.
Chukwu-Noe’s power move and bank shot in the paint made it 50-30 with 7:30 left in the game.
He then got a rebound and stickback at the 6:36 mark as Logan’s lead swelled to 52-30.
Mullins then put the win on ice with an 18-foot jump shot with 6:09 left as the Cats led 54-30.
A 3 by Akers and a free throw by Chukwu-Noe put Logan on top by a 58-30 margin — its largest lead of the night.
Hatcher said it was good to come back and coach at Williamson. A capacity crowd was expected, however, that did not materialize as there were several rows of empty seats.
“Williamson was my first coaching job in West Virginia,” Hatcher said. “Coach Willie Akers had led Logan to the state championship in 1977 and he recommended me for the job here at Williamson. Coach Akers taught me so many things about basketball. The kids would run through a wall for him and I have so much respect for him. I am so thankful to have a high school basketball coach like him who meant so much to the community of Logan. We had some great games with Logan when I was at Williamson and we had Mark Cline. This place used to be packed. It was unbelievable and many of the games would go right down to the wire. That was a great time of my life and I will never forget that.”
Logan is scheduled to return to action on Friday night with a long away trip as the Wildcats are slated to play Perry Central (Ky.) in the Bobby Keith Classic at Clay County High School in Manchester, Ky.
Mingo Central is back in action on Friday night at home against Herbert Hoover in a Cardinal Conference game. The Miners, which played in the state tournament last year, are the Class AA defending sectional tournament champs.