The Dominion Post

FAIRMONT -- University High's trip to the Woody Williams Armory would have been difficult enough under normal circumstances Wednesday night.

The slumping Hawks were, after all, playing the powerful fourth-ranked Fairmont Senior Polar Bears on their home court.

Then you throw in the knockout combination of an emotional Senior Night and the Polar Bears' attempt to clinch the NCAC regular-season title and you have ... a long night for UHS.

Fairmont Senior scored the game's first 12 points and breezed to an 87-40 victory, as the Hawks suffered their 15th consecutive defeat.

UHS's coaches and players can at least take solace in the understanding that they are far from the only team the Polar Bears have manhandled this season.

"From what I've seen, they have all the components to compete for the state title," said UHS coach Dick Parsons, whose 4-17 team has not tasted victory since Dec. 27. "They've won the NCAC most every year. They've got a good program. I told our kids, 'They're one of the top three or four teams in the state.'"

Nonetheless, even Fairmont Senior coach David Retton was taken aback by his team's sterling performance, in which the Polar Bears (20-1) built a 44-11 halftime lead.

Fairmont Senior shot 54.5 percent from the floor and held the Hawks to a frigid 14.2 percent.

"I was extremely pleased with the intensity and the effort in which our players played defense in the first half," Retton said. "This is a great win for our seniors. They've given a lot to lead us through their contribution and efforts."

Polar Bears seniors Cornelius Dillard and Will Bridges went out at home in style. Bridges led all scorers with 24 points and Dillard contributed 15.

Casey Jackson and Matt Smith paced University with 10 points apiece.

The Hawks didn't have the help they needed inside against the likes of Dillard and John Stanley, who finished with nine points. UHS's tallest player, 6-foot-5 Jared Mayfield, sat out with torn ligaments in his right ankle.

Fairmont Senior is equally devastating on the perimeter, with the sharpshooting Stephen Sutherland, who drilled four 3-pointers, and Bridges, a threat to hit the outside jumper or penetrate through the lane.

"They have a good mix of height and outside shooting," Parsons said. "Their height can shoot from the outside. You go at them, and they get the ball inside."

In other boys' games:

* Bobby Prim and Nick Hedges scored 16 points apiece and visiting Morgantown roared back from a 15-point deficit to beat Buckhannon-Upshur, 75-55. Ronnie Shaver and Seth Fogarty added 10 points each for the Mohigans, who trailed, 25-10, after a quarter. T he Bucs, who poured in five of their seven 3-point baskets in the period, still led at halftime, but the Mohigans quickly put the game away in the third quarter. MHS plays host to Fairmont Senior on Friday.

* David Gsell scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter as Tucker County rallied from an 11-point hole to defeat Preston, 66-60. Chris Hartley led Preston (7-14) with 17 points and Harry Hayes added 16. Thomas Hooton finished with 15 poin ts and 12 rebounds. Justin Thompson scored 12 points and Jake Baba 11 for Tucker County (14-6).



Luzier 2 0-0 4, Clawges 1 0-0 3, Jackson 3 2-2 10, Phillips 0 0-2 0, Casdorph 1 0-0 2, Spraggins 0 2-4 2, Hoard 0 1-2 1, Redman 2 0-0 5, Kirelawich 1 1-2 3, Smith 4 0-0 10. Totals 14 6-12 40.


Dillard 7 0-2 15, Bridges 11 2-3 24, Hannah 3 5-10 11, Sutherland 4 0-0 12, Stanley 4 0-0 9, Minutelli 2 0-0 4, Kettering 3 0-1 6, Whiting 0 0-0 0, Bartic 1 0-0 2, Edwards 0 1-2 1, Myles 1 0-0 2, Cimaglia 0 1-2 1, Henson 0 0-0 0. Totals 36 9-20 87.

University High 6 5 18 11 -- 40

Fairmont Senior 27 17 25 18 -- 87

3-point goals--University 6 (Smith 2, Jackson 2, Clawges 1, Redman 1), Fairmont Senior 6 (Sutherland 4, Dillard 1, Stanley 1).



Prim 7 1-2 16, Shaver 4 2-3 10, Fogarty 3 4-6 10, Vidovich 2 0-0 4, Hedges 6 0-0 16, Dalton 1 0-0 2, Murray 0 1-2 1, Rodamer 1 4-5 6, Williams 1 0-0 2, Simpson 2 0-0 4, Law 2 0-0 5, Benson 0 0-0 0. Totals 29 12-18 75.


Davis 1 0-0 2, Koury 3 0-0 8, Kelley 8 3-5 21, Mills 5 0-0 12, Carson 4 1-4 9, Burnside 1 0-0 3. Totals 22 4-9 55.

Morgantown High10 16 28 21 -- 75

Buckhannon-Upshur25 9 10 11 -- 55

3-point goals--MHS 5 (Hedges 4, Law 1), B-U 7 (Koury 2, Kelley 2, Mills 2, Burnside 1).BY

The Dominion Post

Let it be said and let it be heard throughout the hallways of high school campuses in Monongalia and Marion Counties.

Barry Ball is back!

It was never more evident than Friday night with Preston's 56-46 victory over Class AA defending state champion No. 3-ranked Bridgeport.

Following an overtime victory over Lincoln last week, the Knights' first OT win in six attempts, Preston (6-13) gave an encore performance worth seeing.

"The boys are coming around," said Preston coach Barry Sanders in what may be the understatement of the season. "They're starting to show a lot more patience and they're doing a better job of getting the ball in the post. I'm happier than a peacock right now."

Thomas Hooton had his usual 18 points, but this game, which the Knights led from wire-to-wire, was a true team effort. Bridgeport fell to 16-4.

"We need to keep playing like this and stay on the roll we're on," Hooton said. "All year, we've been playing teams tough, but have been coming up short. To get a win like this, man, this is the best I've felt all year."

For a while, the game looked as if it would fall into another of Preston's close defeats category, which has very little room left.

The Knights led, 39-29, heading into the fourth quarter, much like they had in games with Fairmont Senior, George Washington, North Marion and a host of others -- only to watch them slip away.

Bridgeport cut the lead to three points on three occassions, but each time PHS center Steve Adams was there to answer. Scoring five of his 13 points in the final three minutes of the game before fouling out, Adams made sure the Knights would not let this one get away.

"Steve came up so big for us tonight," Hooton said. "Those baskets were so huge and they really sealed the deal for us."

Harry Hayes finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Tyler White scored six points and added nine assists.

With three games left before the start of the sectional tournament, Preston is making a serious threat to win a region that has belonged to Fairmont Senior and Morgantown High all season.

"To be honest, I'm still not sure we've reached our peak, yet," Sanders said. "But, we're getting there."

In other games:

* A four-point opening quarter wasn't enough to deter University Friday at North Marion, but a second half Hawk rally wasn't enough to beat the Huskies either. North Marion handed UHS its 14th straight loss, 61-53.

UHS (4-16, 2-11 NCAC) trailed, 16-4, after making no field goals in the first quarter.

"As bad as we played, I told them we were still in the game," UHS head coach Dick Parsons said.

The Hawks mounted a comeback in the second half and trailed by just seven points entering the final quarter. The deficit was cut to six points before North Marion's Rocky Manchin took over.

Manchin scored eight of his game-high 19 points in the fourth and the Huskies outscored UHS, 20-19.

"In the fourth, they just stepped out and hit a couple shots," Parsons said. "Manchin basically took over. They spread it out and Manchin was able to go by us or dump it off for a score. He just kind of took the game in his hands. We had a hard time stopping him once they spread the floor."

* WELLSBURG -- The No. 6 Morgantown High boys' basketball team's win streak reached eight games Friday, ruining Brooke High's Senior Night at the same time.

Bobby Prim scored 22 points and added four assists and four steals to lead the Mohigans to a 76-69 victory over the ninth-ranked Bruins.

Nick Hedges added 21 points and Justin Vidovich had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"It was a nice team effort," MHS coach Tom Yester said. "We got a little bit of everything from our starters. We were able to get out and run on them early and got them in foul trouble."

MHS had the advantage in free throws, connecting on 27-of-38 to Brooke's 6-of-8.

Ronnie Shaver also had 13 points for the Mohigans, which will travel to Buckhannon-Upshur on Feb. 20.