Lady Cougars making new history after offensive explosion in Clash
By Jim Turner

Posted on February 27, 2015 12:13 AM

After almost making history in Clash of the Cats III Tuesday, the Logan County Lady Cougars can make modern history Friday in the 13th District Tournament finals at Todd Central.

Coach Finley Baird’s team will play Franklin-Simpson in the championship game Friday. Both are headed to the Fourth Region Tournament.

In last year’s championship game, Logan came in with a 12-14 record against Coach Josh Matthews’ heavily favored Lady Cats, who were 24-4. The Lady Cougars pulled off a shocker, beating the Lady Cats 47-38.

That was in sharp contrast to their recent tournament success and to the start of their 2013-14 season. Logan had started 0-8 in their first season under Coach Baird, who was a standout player on the first Lady Cougar team in 1983, which reached the regional finals against eventual state champion Warren Central. Baird played collegiately at Lindsey Wilson while it was still a junior college and then on a Final Four team at WKU.

Going into district action, Logan had lost to F-S twice by 13 and 16 points. The Lady Cougars turned that around on that special night exactly a year ago.

The Lady Cougars began their program in great fashion, winning the first eight district championships in school history. They reached the regional finals twice in six years under Coach Jim Thompson. The next two years they not only won the district but they were regional champions both years and also won a game at state each season, both under Coach Mike Haynes.

This century started well for Logan, too. The Lady Cougars won three of the first five district championships in years beginning 20--, having success under coaches Sean Pigman, Paul McNeal and Haynes again.

Yet going into last year’s tournament, LCHS had not won a district championship since 2004 and had not won a district tournament game since 2010. Now they’ve won three straight district games and are looking for a fourth this week.

Two years ago, it appeared this senior class would be one of Logan’s best ever, since talented center Abbey Hinton had moved in to play under her AAU coach, Scot MacAllister. When MacAllister was let go that year after eight seasons, however, Hinton returned to Tennessee.

Two things happened to ease that situation considerably, however. First junior Brooke Barnes has developed into one of the region’s top post players, and her backup, classmate Rachel Barnett, has become an intimidating force who has worked her way into the starting lineup beside Barnes.

Second, another transfer has made a big difference. Junior Torrie Pollard had been a starter at Muhlenberg County for two years before moving to Logan County. She is the daughter of the former Pam Collins, the quick defensive starter at guard for Logan’s first regional championship team in 1989. Pollard does it all—scoring, rebounding, making steals and assists, and blocking shots. She also is a skilled ball handler, allowing fellow guard Taleia Mason to concentrate on harassing opponents with her quickness and craftiness, much as Collins had done as a Lady Cougar.

Logan only has two seniors, but they are talented and experienced. Kapreshia Powell and Maegann Hardison have played high school ball for five years, most of the time as starters. Hardison hits 3-pointers, rebounds and has an excellent floor game. Powell does all things, too, and is versatile enough to play either strong forward or off guard.

Junior Cierra Johnson is the other member of the seven-woman rotation. She does many things well and knows her role involves much more than scoring.

Baird will be coaching against a veteran bench boss. David Clark returned to coaching this year after taking two seasons off to watch his son Tanner play. Last year he coached middle school boys. He had coached the Lady Cats three years early in this century, winning a district championship in the process. Then he coached the F-S boys nine seasons, making it to region in all nine of them, five as champion. He resigned as the Wildcats’ coach four years ago with a 174-98 record.

Logan comes into this game with a 2-1 record against Franklin this year. Baird’s team won their regular season encounters by three at home and by 14 at Franklin. Clark’s Lady Cats beat Logan 42-28 Dec. 23 in the Lady Storm United Mine Workers of American Classic at Hopkins County Central. Barnes, who totaled eight each of points and rebounds in last year’s finals, sat out that game. She appeared to be healthy Tuesday.

The next week, the Lady Cougars won the First Southern National Bank Christmas Classic at home. They hope to add another championship this week.

The LoJo

The Lady Cougars’ 85-61 win over Russellville Tuesday involved an offensive explosion.Barnes and Barnett each scored 19 points and pulled down 12 rebounds apiecePowell added 14 points for the Lady Cougars with Pollard scoring 12Jessica Hines 8 and Hardison 7. Powell & Hardison each had 5 assists and the injured Mason 3. Mason ended the last Clash of the Cats with her arm in a sling.

The Lady Panthers scored well, too. Devonya Bryant and Loreal Cheaney each scored 14 for Coach Calvin Head’s team and Denise Stovall added 12. Russellville pulled to within 42-33 early in the third quarter, but then the Lady Cougars went on a 22-7 run to decide the outcome early.

The 85-61 score was the largest in 13th District Tournament action in 13 seasons. The Lady Cougars beat the Lady Panthers 86-69 in the 2002 tournament. Even in the glory days of Franklin-Simpson girls basketball under Coach Lex Lindsey, the total scores didn’t come close to these two.

Franklin beat Todd Central beat Coach Steven McGhee’s Lady Rebels 73-54 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.

Score by Quarters: 1) LCHS 25-15, 2) 42-31, 3) 65-40, Final) Logan County 85, Russellville 61

LCHS (85) Rachel Barnett 19, Brooke Barnes 19, Kapreshia Powell 14, Torrie Pollard 12, Jessica Hines 8, Maegann Hardison 7, Cierra Johnson 2, Emily Carroll 2, Amber Carroll 1

RHS (61) Loreal Cheaney 14, Devonya Bryant 14, Denise Stovall 12, Addie Hendley 6, DeShala Leblanc 6, Alissa Kennedy 4, Jalonda Wells 3, Sariana Allen 2


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