"[Mitchell] is a heck of a player down there but I thought our girls battled really well with her," James said. "It got really physical down the stretch, [the officials] let it go and that's fine. It went both ways. They got some offensive putbacks that really hurt us down the stretch."
Gertz placed the bulk of the blame for allowing St. Albans to get back in the game on his own shoulders, but praised his team for withstanding the storm in the fourth quarter.
"I did a horrible job coaching in the second half," he said. "All I did was complain to officials and I don't do that. I always coach my kids and tonight I didn't."
Tothe finished as the game's leading scorer with 20 points while teammate Kyra Cline chipped in with 16. Mitchell scored 12 for the Wildcats, with eight of those coming in the second half.
For St. Albans, Copper was the leading scorer with 16, Breanna Propst had 11 and Wilson finished with seven.
James said he was disappointed his team was not going to the state tournament, but that his team's youth gives him and his staff a reason to see brighter days ahead for SA girls hoops.
"[Logan is] young, we're young, Spring Valley is young. Basketball is on the rise in this area," He said. "We're excited. It's going to take a commitment for us to take the next step and get to the state tournament but these girls have given everything they've got and it's been one of the most enjoyable years since I've been coaching here."
For Gertz and the Wildcats, the waiting game starts now. Two Class AAA regional co-finals were postponed Tuesday so the state tournament seeds will not be released for several days. He said he expects to be the underdog from now on but welcomes the challenge.
"Now we're the underdog every game we play from here on out," he said. "Honestly I hope we're down four, five or six going in to the fourth quarter. We play a whole hell of a lot better, I can tell you that."
Reach Tom Bragg at tom.br...@wvgazette.com.