State Tournament: Wildcats take next step, top Tigers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Statewide girls basketball fans meet Shayna Gore.
The 5-foot-11 Logan sophomore point guard introduced herself in style to those in attendance at Thursday morning's Class AAA state tournament quarterfinal.
Gore led the fifth-seeded Wildcats to a 77-66 upset of No. 4 seed Princeton (19-6) with 36 points, four rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes.
Though it was Tigers senior point guard McKenzie Akers who was expected to put on a show, the Marshall recruit was upstaged from the beginning by Gore as Princeton's state tournament record fell to 0-5.
She scored 20 points in the first half on a combination of driving lay-ups, short-range jumpers and arching 3-pointers. It was a Gore 3-pointer with 41 seconds to play in the third that put Logan ahead for good at 54-51.
"Gore is a great player," Princeton Coach Debbie Ball said.
One who had been waiting for a long time to perform at the state tournament.
"I'd come watch with my dad when I was little," Gore said. "He would talk to me about how he hoped I would play here someday."
Though it would have been easy to stick her under the basket because of her height, her father noticed from the start that she had a knack for dribbling.
"I've played point guard ever since I learned the game," Gore said. "And I've been playing since I was 6."
Her father, Shane, also played basketball for Logan.
"Dad never played in the states," Gore said. "They always got beat out in sectionals."
Now he will get to see his daughter play at least one more state tournament game, two if she has anything to say about it.
"That's all I want to do," Gore said. "I want to make my dad and my coach proud."
Gore, senior guard Hannah Tothe and freshman center Monica Mitchell along with some of the other Wildcats have been playing together since elementary school.
Tothe finished with 11 points and seven rebounds Thursday while the 6-2 Mitchell wound up with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
It was Tothe who took over at point guard when Gore went to the bench with four fouls.
Instead of wilting, the Wildcats (16-9) took off on a 13-3 run to start the fourth quarter with Tothe scoring five of those points. That all but determined the outcome as Princeton never got closer than seven.
"I'm like the mother out on the floor," Tothe said.
"If I lose my head we'll all lose it."
It is the first state tournament game victory for Logan.
Princeton did not make it easy in spite of shooting just 29 percent for the game.
"We've had a few games where we shot 29 percent but were able to pull it out," Ball said. "This is a never say die team."
Akers, who came into the game averaging 25 points per game, finished with 17 points and nine assists, but hit just 6-of-30 shots.
"Krya Cline may have only taken two shots," Logan Coach Kevin Gertz said. "But look at the defense she played on Akers."
Gore hit 12-of-21 shots including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Mitchell dropped in 8-of-13 shots while playing 32 minutes.
Next is a semifinal meeting at 5:30 p.m. today with top-seeded Spring Valley.
The Timberwolves earned a hard-fought 68-67 decision in the sectional final. In that game Logan turned the ball over while inbounding it underneath its own basket with 6 seconds to play.
"We all think (Spring Valley) is the top team in the state, well maybe," Gore said. "It won't be easy."
Gore had 36 and Mitchell 18 in that contest. Madison Morris has 22, Sarah Kelly 12, and Brooke Heck 10 for Spring Valley.
"I'm looking forward to playing my old buddy Bo Miller," Gertz said of the Spring Valley coach.