LOGAN — The pressure was on Logan.
Garrett Williamson hit a 12-footer with 3 seconds remaining to lift No. 1 seed Logan over third-seeded Lincoln County for the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 title on Friday night, 46-44.
Williamson was clutch when it counted for the Wildcats.
With 47 seconds on the game clock, he stole a soft pass from Lincoln County and went the length of the floor for a layup making the score 44-42, Logan.
Lincoln County senior John Blankenship was fouled on a trek to the bucket on the Panthers’ next possession and he canned both free throws to knot the game at 44.
That is where the fireworks began.
Williamson took the inbounds pass near the foul line and weaved in and out of defenders to go the length of the floor and from 12-feet out, just a few feet from the baseline, dropped a shot that won the game for the Wildcats with 3 seconds to go.
Panther guard Jackson Sanders took the inbounds pass and heaved a half-court shot with a defender in his face that fell short of the bucket.
“I never expected we could play so poorly and have a chance to win there,” said Lincoln County coach Rodney Plumley.
After Blankenship’s free throws, Plumley was determined to not allow Logan’s Scotty Browning to beat him. The guard has shown a penchant for buzzer beating shots — having netted two in one week earlier this season. Browning did not score in the game but Plumley knew he was capable.
“Being tied and not needing a 3-point shot to tie or win, we had to make sure that Browning wouldn’t beat us but this isn’t that situation and we don’t him to get the shot but we can’t sell out on him. We played straight-up and Williamson made a great play in a crucial spot.”
The game was all Panthers early as Lincoln County (13-7) started the game with an 11-0 run and took the first quarter 13-5.
Logan (13-4) roared back in the second frame on the back of Jarron Glick who poured in eight of his team’s 15 points in the quarter and Lincoln County held a 24-21 advantage at intermission.
It was the third period that Logan clamped down on the Panthers defensively — allowing them only two points in the frame.
“Both teams shot terribly and we needed one more kid to play well,” said Plumley. “Sanders came off the bench and did a real nice job for us. He came through with a good game but other than that, everybody struggled. We’ve lived on that edge for seven games and we finally got bitten by it.”
Sanders hit a 3-pointer that gave the Panther a 42-41 advantage with barely a minute to go.
Logan will host Winfield in the regional co-final Tuesday, while Lincoln County travels to Nitro in the other co-final the same day.
On March 27, Nitro waxed the Panthers in Hamlin 74-35 but Lincoln County was without Blankenship and Tully was playing with a freshly broken nose and an awkward temporary face shield to protect it.
“I acknowledge that our kids will be down after the Logan game for 24 hours,” he said.
“You can’t shake that off. Today (Saturday) is about getting in the gym and knowing there are only 16 Class AAA teams practicing today. On Sunday, you wipe it away and focus on how important Tuesday is.”
Logan scoring — Glick 18, Williamson 14, Slack 9, Adkins 4
Lincoln County scoring — Sanders 14, Blankenship 12, Phillips 8, Carpenter 5, Tully 5, Koontz 3
LOGAN 5 16 13 12 — 46
LINC CO. 13 11 2 18 — 44