LOGAN — Scotty Browning played out the scenario hundreds of times on the playground, in the gym or on the rim back at his grandparent’s house.
The game is on the line and the clock is winding down.
It’s do-or-die time.
Five, four, three, two, one …
Let it fly at the buzzer.
This past week, the Logan High School sophomore sensation got to live out that dream. It was no longer just in his mind.
Browning, a 5-foot-11 guard, created a buzz around the state with a pair of buzzer-beaters in Wildcat wins over Scott and Herbert Hoover at Logan’s Willie Akers Arena.
The first was last Tuesday, when he stepped back and nailed a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer, lifting Class AAA No. 6 Logan to a 72-69 overtime victory over Scott.
Not to be outdone, the encore happened four days later on Saturday, when Browning launched a 23-foot dagger at the top of the key, hitting all net, as Logan toppled the Huskies 75-73.
“I’ve shot hundreds of those just outside playing,” Browning quipped, “so that wasn’t my first one. Those are the shots that you dream of, for sure.”
It was a whirlwind week and weekend for Browning, his family and the Wildcats.
The videos of Browning’s bombs and Chris Kidd’s call on Video Productions/WVOW 101.9 FM in Logan are already viral and are all across Twitter and Facebook.
Exclaimed Kidd on his play-by-play call, “Send ‘em home, Scotty! Send ‘em home!”
Browning is “Mr. Clutch,” and Logan’s “Mr. Excitement.”
“You can go a whole lifetime and not have a chance at a shot like that, and he had two in one week, and to say the least, that was exciting and awesome for him and my family and the team,” said Steve Browning, Scotty’s father and a Logan assistant coach. “We’re proud of him regardless. Those were two big shots. I’m sure in his mind he’s shot that shot a million times on his rim at his grandparents house or on his Nerf rim when he was a kid. Every kid shoots that shot in the gym when they are counting it down.”
Browning’s heroics stirred up a bit of playful banter and a Twitter exchange with his older brother Stevie and Devin Collins, a current Marshall University player and former Chapmanville Tiger.
The elder Browning, now a grad assistant coach at Marshall on coach Dan D’Antoni’s staff, helped lead Logan to the 2010 Class AAA state championship under former coach Mark Hatcher. He later played two years at Fairmont State and his last two at Marshall before embarking on a four-year professional basketball career in Europe, which ended last year.
Stevie Browning tweeted, “This Man @Scotty Browning just hit another game winner … he’s a LEGEND.”
Colllins then chimed in, Tweeting out a little dig at Stevie, saying “Scotty Browning > Stevie Browning [and two smiley faces].”
Stevie Browning then responded, “I agree Devin Collins but I would still dunk on him [smiley face].”
In both of his game winners, Browning was left open — in the corner in the Scott game and at the top of the key against Hoover.
In the Hoover game, with the Huskies leading 73-72, Logan’s Jarron Glick dribbled inside the 3-point arc, drawing a triple team. He rolled off and was double-teamed but whirled back and kicked it back to the top, where Browning was open.
“That really surprised me,” Scotty Browning said of having such an open look. “It was a deep 3 and I really didn’t catch it right either. I caught it and just had to throw it up there.”
Browning hit four 3s and tallied 14 points against Hoover. In the Scott game, he poured in 21 points and connected on five shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Glick led Logan with a 31-point effort and six 3s in the game against the Huskies.
Browning has improved steadily in his two years with the Wildcats, going from getting only spot duty off the bench as a freshman last year to a more prominent role this season. He’s earned a starting role of late.
He’s fearless and never afraid to shoot.
“You can’t be afraid to shoot,” he said. “Those are the shots that I practice and they are routine shots.”
Logan coach Zach Green said Browning has come a long way, going from a 5-foot-3, 80-pound kid as an eighth-grader to his current, and still growing, 5-11, 150-pound frame. Despite his small stature, Green saw the special player that Browning was.
“When Scotty first joined us the summer after his eighth grade year, he was 5-3 and just 80 pounds, but even at that time you could see he was extremely skilled and, like the rest of this group of kids, wasn’t scared of the big moment,” Green said. “His size kept him from really seeing any action on the varsity team as a freshmen but he was phenomenal for our JV team. He hit 13 of 17 end-of-quarter/game shots for the JV team last year.”
Green said Browning is not afraid to put in the extra work.
“Scotty’s work ethic is through the roof,” Green said. “We had a shootaround before our Scott game at noon. I get a text at 10:30 in the morning from Scotty asking if he could come early. I got there at 11 and Scotty was on the shooting machine by himself getting up shots. The big shots he makes aren’t by coincidence. They don’t just happen. He puts in the time.”
Scotty Browning comes from a basketball family at Logan.
He wears No. 2 for the Wildcats, the same number big brother Stevie wore for the Marshall Thundering Herd. The elder Browning was the second-leading scorer on the 2016-17 Herd team, averaging 16.1 points and was named to the 2017 Conference USA All-Tournament team after averaging 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the postseason tourney.
He closed out his college career with 1,694 points and later played four years of pro ball in Turkey, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia.
As a senior at Logan in 2012, he averaged 25.2 points per game and was named Class AAA first-team All-State.
The Brownings’ dad Steve played on legendary coach Willie Akers’ 1983 state championship team and played also at the college level.
“Scotty comes from a great basketball family,” Green said. “Obviously everyone knows about his brother Stevie and his career, but Big Steve was a great player too. Both, Stevie (2010) and Steve (1983) have been on state championship teams and winning is in their blood. Steve has been an unbelievable asset to our program and to me personally as a part of our coaching staff.”
Steve Browning said Scotty would like to someday follow in his and his big brother’s footsteps.
“We always try to compare where he is at to where Stevie was. Not trying to compare the two kids but more so to get a gauge at to where he’s growing and where he needs to be at in his basketball life,” Steve Browning said. “He wants to try to go on and play at the next level. It’s fortunate for anyone to get there and you have to work really hard at it. It’s not work to him. He enjoys doing it and going to the gym, and Stevie did the same thing. It’s almost more work for dad than for him.”
Browning’s late-game heroics have helped rejuvenate the Wildcats (12-4), now on a four-game winning streak and having won 10 out of their last 11 games heading into the regular-season finale on Thursday night at rival Chapmanville.
Logan is hoping to carry the momentum into next week’s Class AAA sectionals and advance to the state tournament for the first time in nine years. This year’s first-ever “May Madness” is scheduled to be played May 4-8 at the Charleston Coliseum.
The Wildcats thought they had a good shot at making it to state last season, led by All-State guard and all-time leading scorer David Early (now at Marshall), and taking a 15-8 record into the Class AA regional co-championship game at Poca.
The season was first delayed, then shut down, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Logan never got a chance.
Logan has seven state championships in its long and storied history and has won at least one state title in every decade since the 1960s. The Wildcats brought home Class AAA state crowns in 1964, 1977, 1978, 1983 and 1991, a Double-A state title in 2005 and another Triple-A state championship in 2010.
This was Logan’s 30-year anniversary of the 1991 team, coached by Vic Herbert. The team was honored last Tuesday in the Scott game.
Scotty Browning said this year’s Wildcats are starting to find their groove, and at the right time.
“We started out 2-3 but we are playing really well,” he said. “I think that we’ve really got a good shot this year and the next couple of years. We are really young but throughout the year we’ve come together. We just started out a little bit slow.”