Over the course of the season, there are only a handful of moments that can appropriately be recognized as season-defining ones.
Logan’s 64-54 victory over Ridgeline Tuesday night qualifies for that season-defining moment label. Heading into the game, the matchup had nearly everything that a spectator could ask for: A crosstown region rivalry featuring four of 4A’s top 10 leading scorers and two teams that are undefeated in region play, with the winner of the game moving into the top spot in the region standings.
Despite the high stakes, Logan head coach Morganne Madsen said her team didn’t let that be a distraction.
“It was business as usual for us. We knew it was going to be a big game, but we focused and went and did our thing,” Madsen said.
“We’ve worked hard to earn these region wins so we’re going to have the same mentality. We have to grind it out, be mentally tough and we have to keep playing our game.” — Logan head coach Morganne Madsen
That wasn’t initially the case, as Ridgeline jumped out to a quick six-point lead early in the first quarter, but then the Grizzlies woke from their hibernation and proceeded to go on a commanding 15-0 run that saw them take a 22-13 lead.
Logan’s Amber Kartchner, who finished with 29 points, led the charge during the Grizzlies’ run, getting multiple steals that led to transition buckets. Twenty of Kartchner’s 29 points came in the first half, much of them during the big run.
The Logan defense and its ability to create turnovers paved the way for Kartchner to have the success she did. As a team, Logan somewhat struggled offensively in its halfcourt sets in the opening stages of the game, but its defense allowed the offense to thrive in transition.
With 20 combined fouls called in the first half alone, both teams appeared to be frustrated with the way the officials called things, and Logan’s second leading scorer, Taylor Rose, found herself on the bench with foul trouble for the bulk of the first half.
However, Madsen said her girls did a great job adjusting with the way the game seemed to be flowing.
“We talked about how we can’t control what the refs are going to do after they blow the whistle,” Madsen said. “We just focused on what we can control: trying the best we can to move our feet and showing our hands on defense.”
The foul trouble on Rose presented an opportunity for Ridgeline’s Sarah Litchford to have her way in the post. Litchford finished the game with 18 points, with nearly all of them coming from the low post.
Despite Litchford’s strong performance down low, Logan was able to defend at a high level on all other parts of the floor. The Grizzlies held Ridgeline’s Haley Anderson, the second leading scorer in 4A, to 15 points below her season average.
“We knew what (Anderson) was capable of coming into the game,” Madsen said. “We knew we wanted to get her the least amount of touches as possible, and I think we did a really good job of that.”
The Grizzlies’ defense dug in and stood its ground when Ridgeline cut what was a 15 point Logan lead to five with 4:30 to go in the game. Logan’s stellar free-throw shooting (23 of 29 from the line) and defensive rebounding kept Ridgeline from gaining any more ground.
The win moves the Grizzlies to 5-0 in region play and 11-3 overall. Ridgeline drops to 4-1 in region but it is certainly still in the hunt.
Madsen said the big win doesn’t change the mentality of the team and that players know there is still much more that the group needs to earn going forward.
“We’ve worked hard to earn these region wins so we’re going to have the same mentality,” she said. “We have to grind it out, be mentally tough and we have to keep playing our game.”
Time will tell if this result for Logan will in fact be a season-defining one, but from where it stands now, it certainly looks to be that way.