After two straight all-star caliber seasons, Ringgold’s Logan Hullender saved some of his best for last during this past season.
Career-highs in points (18.3) and rebounds (7.3) per game not only made the Tiger a first team All-Region selection in Region 6-AAA, but they are just two of the reasons that Hullender has been named the 2019-20 Catoosa County Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year.
“I couldn't be more proud of him,” Tiger head coach Greg Elkins said. “Not just how he handled the season, but how he handled all the responsibilities that we laid on him. He took it all on and really showed a lot of maturity. We as coaches were really proud of him for the way he responded.”
Hullender burst onto the scene as a sophomore, earning Catoosa-Walker Dream Team first team honors after averaging 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a night. Included in that was a state playoff game against Region 5 champion Cedar Grove, in which he exploded for 24 points, albeit in a loss.
He would be named to the honor squad again as a junior, recording 10.2 points and five boards a night to once again help get the Blue-and-White to the state tournament.
A youthful Ringgold team would miss the state playoffs this past season, but Hullender became the Tigers’ go-to player and quickly earned a reputation as not only one of the region’s top scorers, but as one of its toughest and most hard-nosed all-around players.
A memorable run late in the season saw him go over 20 points four times in a span of five games, including a 23-point showing against county rival Heritage, a 24-point effort against region toughie Calhoun and a season-best 31-point clinic in a big home win over Haralson County.
He went on to reach the 1,000 career-point mark in the regular season home finale against Heritage and lit up Sonoraville for 27 points in the 6-AAA tournament before the Phoenix were able to pull away late in the fourth quarter to avoid the upset.
“His previous three seasons, he could just kind of do his thing and take a bit of a backseat to (some of the other players),” Elkins said. “But coming into this season, he was going to have to be the guy. The way we like to run the offense is sharing the ball and get it moving and that kind of thing. This year, though, it was kind of a unique experience for him because we allowed him to pound the ball a little more than we normally would.”
Not only was seeing Hullender in a sweat-drenched post-game jersey commonplace, but so was seeing him talking to, shaking hands with and embracing opponents afterward, even posing for post-game photos with some of the guys he battled tooth-and-nail with on the court every night.
“Not only the (other teams’) players, but the other (teams’) coaches showed a lot of respect for him with the way they defended him,” Elkins added. “He saw a lot of double-teams and even sometimes triple-teams when he got the ball.
“He loves the game and I just can’t say enough good things about him from this season.”