The Logan-Rogersville Wildcats are essentially staying home for the state semifinals.
That’s not to say that their season is over, but with just a 15-mile trip to the JQH Arena in Springfield, the Class 4 basketball semifinals and final round might as well be home games for the Wildcats. Logan-Rogersville’s boys team (24-5) earned the right to advance to the state semifinals Saturday with a 57-49 victory against Sullivan (23-7) in the state quarterfinals at Waynesville.
In the accompanying girls game in Waynesville Saturday, Logan-Rogersville (23-7) was again victorious over the other team to emerge out of Class 4 District 10 in Union last week, the Rolla Lady Bulldogs (24-4), 45-40.
Sullivan’s state playoff journey down Interstate 44 ended one stop short of its ultimate goal of reaching Springfield after previously getting the win in the sectional round at Rolla Tuesday.
The Eagles trailed Logan-Rogersville, 15-13, at the end of the first quarter Saturday. The Wildcats stayed out in front, 26-22, at the half.
Sullivan rallied late in the third quarter to overtake Logan-Rogersville and carried a 37-35 advantage into the final period.
“It was kind of a rough way to go out,” Sullivan Head Coach Dino McKinney said. “We were up three and we thought Jacob Rohrer took a pretty good charge and the call went against us. They then took the lead on the next possession and really changed the momentum of the game.”
In total, the game featured six lead changes and nine ties. Four of the ties came in the fourth quarter.
Landon Hoffman led the Eagles with 15 points.
Cody McKinney finished with 11 points, Rohrer eight, Austin Frye six, Carter Adams five, Jacob Hatcher two and Austin Lewis two.
Cody McKinney netted two three-point baskets during an 11-3 Sullivan run to tie the score at 34 with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Hoffman then buried a three to put Sullivan in the lead for the first time since the first quarter.
“They had a pretty good triangle-and-two defense, but he and Landon both got loose there in the third quarter and that definitely keyed our run,” Coach McKinney said.
The Wildcats had five separate players record double digit points in the contest.
Luke Vandersnick posted the team high of 13 points. Josh Linehan scored 11 points. Ryker Strong, Cade Blevins and Kanon Gipson totaled 10 points each.
Addy Miller added two points and Zach Bergman one to round out the Logan-Rogersville scoring.
The Eagles limited Vandersnick, who was the Big 8 East and Class 4 District 11 Player of the Year, to just six points through the first three periods. However, he twice gave the Wildcats the lead off a tied score and posted seven points in the quarter.
“We did a good job on him early and didn’t really start taking over there until the fourth quarter,” Coach McKinney said.
After Hoffman’s three gave Sullivan a 37-34 lead going into the final 90 seconds of the third quarter, Bergman delivered a free throw to end the period with a two-point differential.
Cody McKinney went to the line early in the fourth quarter for the Eagles and pushed the lead back up to three, but Logan-Rogersville put together the next six points, culminating with a three-point play by Blevins off a layup with a foul.
Frye delivered a two for the Eagles and then Hoffman tied the game at 41 from the free-throw line at just under six minutes remaining.
Vandersnick then got through the lane for his first field goal of the period, answered on the other end by a pair of Cody McKinney free throws.
After another Wildcat score, Lewis tied it back up at 45 all with 4:07 to play.
Vandersnick then struck again for two as the Wildcats took the lead for the final time. He then went to the free-throw line on the next possession to push the lead up to three points. After getting a pair of stops on the other end, the Wildcats were able to extend the lead to five on a basket by Strong at 1:27 to play.
Rohrer brought it back to a three-point game with his two-point score before Vandersnick answered on the other end. Strong and Gipson next combined for three points in trips to the line on back-to-back possessions, extending the Rogersville lead to eight points and putting the game out of reach.
Cody McKinney delivered one final basket on a runner in the lane, but the ensuing foul sent Rogersville to the line with just nine seconds remaining. Gipson delivered on both shots to close out the scoring.
The loss concluded the high school career for seven Sullivan seniors — McKinney, Hoffman, Rohrer, Lewis, Frye, Adams and Cameron Cunningham.
“We’re proud of how good of kids they were rather than how long their run was at the end of the year,” Coach McKinney said. “They’re great kids and hopefully they join the following of former players that come back and watch us. It’s like a family that way.”
Joining Logan-Rogersville in the Class 4 boys semifinals are Kansas City Grandview (27-2), Ladue (20-8) and St. Mary’s (17-12).
The Class 4 girls semifinals will include Logan-Rogersville, Lincoln College Prep (21-4), Incarnate Word (28-2) and Miller Career Academy (19-7).
Class 4 semifinals will be played starting at noon Friday with third-place and championship games held on Saturday.