by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s boys basketball team found another way to win.
Coach Pat Skaggs dialed up a 2-3 zone Friday night in an effort to contain Frankfort’s size and strength.
The decision paid dividends as the Berries shut down the Hot Dogs for a hard-fought 57-49 win.
“That was a really nice team win for us. We just beat a solid, experienced ballclub there,” Skaggs said. “I thought we’d really have a hard time trying to play them man-to-man for 32 minutes, so we decided to start with the 2-3 and it was positive for us early.”
The Berries (5-0) had played mostly man defense through their first four games but their zone was effective.
“We’re pretty quick and we’re pretty strong. We can adapt,” senior Andrew Wamsley said of his squad’s defensive game planning this year. “I was worried going into this one. We hadn’t been playing very physical and I knew they were a physical team. [My teammates] made me proud tonight. They played defense.
“We did a good job at the end of taking care of the ball and hitting free throws.”
The Berries led most of the way but it was close throughout. They built a 25-17 lead — their biggest until the final minute of the game — before the Hot Dogs (4-2) closed out the final two minutes of the first half with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 25-24 at halftime.
The Berries continued to hold a slim lead through the second half, and they led 45-43 when Frankfort coach Tom Weeks was called for a technical foul when the Hot Dogs had the ball with 3:03 left in the game.
Carter Skaggs hit both technical free throws and Wamsley then connected on two more freebies on the possession to give Logan a 49-43 lead with 2:34 remaining.
“It’s just a situation where you’re just fighting for your kids, that’s all it is,” Weeks said. “You’re just trying to do right by your kids.”
Isaac Rudd connected on his third 3-pointer of the game for Frankfort to cut it back to a three-point game before A.J. Smith hit two free throws in the one-and-bonus with 2:07 left to give Logan a 51-46 lead.
Brody Kirby scored on a drive and Rudd hit 1 of 2 free throws to cut the lead to 51-49 with 57.4 seconds left. Smith again hit two free throws in the one-and-bonus to push the lead back to 5, and Rudd misfired from 3 on Frankfort’s next possession. Carter Skaggs and Wamsley then hit four straight free throws to close the game out sandwiched around an illegal screen call on the Hot Dogs.
The Berries had just two field goals in the fourth quarter but they were big ones as Wamsley scored back-to-back times in the post, the second of which gave the Berries a 43-38 lead with 5:10 left.
Logan shot 22 of 32 from the foul line for the game including 18 of 22 in the fourth quarter. Frankfort shot 8 of 17 from the line for the contest.
Carter Skaggs led Logan with 22 points and nine rebounds. Wamsley had 18 points and Smith added eight points and five assists. Jalen Adaway had seven blocked shots and nine rebounds.
Christian Smith led the Hot Dogs with 18 points. Rudd had 13 and Kirby added 10.
Both teams had just eight turnovers in the contest. Frankfort shot 17 of 56 from the field (30.4 percent) while Logan shot 16 of 41 (39.0 percent) to go with the edge in free throws.
“When you shoot like we shot tonight which wasn’t very good, you’re going to struggle,” Weeks said. “Our defensive effort wasn’t there early, it was at times. We showed what we’re capable at times. It just wasn’t our night as far as shooting goes.”
It was the Berries’ night for the fifth game in a row to start the season.
“After Wednesday’s practice I wasn’t sure we’d win another game,” Pat Skaggs said, “and I was just really proud of our guys there, especially in the fourth quarter they were playing to win.
“We had so many guys step up and play well tonight. Jalen Adaway’s presence on the defensive end of the floor was just fantastic. Wamsley kind of had a coming out game tonight and did an outstanding job for us and did what I saw him do in summer camp some this summer. I thought Alex Brink probably had his best game of the year. I thought he played smart. I thought he took advantage of when it was there and I thought he did a good job of reading the defense. I think our guard play is continuing to improve. It was just a quality win against a very good team.”
The Berries host Lafayette Jeff tonight.