Mohigans spurt late in half to win

MHS trap causes turnovers, resulting in 17-0 run that ends UHS upset dream


The Dominion Post

Prior to the first installment of the 2002 University-Morgantown boys' basketball rivalry, the two sides were actually able to agree on something: The longer University stayed competitive against No. 8 MHS, the more dangerous UHS would be.

And after the opening quarter Friday, UHS seemed ready to cause trouble. The Hawks managed to take the lead in the opening quarter and trailed Morgantown by just five, 17-12.

"That was too close," said Morgantown's Ronnie Shaver. "That's closer than we wanted it to be. Then we went in there, did what Coach wanted us to do and we went on a spurt. Everything went great after that."

The Mohigans closed the half with a ferocious 17-0 run, turning a 21-16 ballgame into a 38-16 disaster.

"I'm sure they probably got down a little bit, but that happens," Shaver said. "If something like that happens -- the other team goes on a big run and you don't score -- sometimes it might tear you down a little bit."

Morgantown played man-to-man defense throughout the first half, but made a noticeable switch with 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

"We changed defenses and trapped and the trap worked," said MHS head coach Tom Yester. "If it works, you get layups. If it doesn't, they get layups. We decided that was a good time to change our defense."

Indeed it was. Two, three or four Mohigans stormed the half-court line and converted four straight turnovers into uncontested layups.

"That took a lot of the wind out of our sails because of where it happened," said UHS head coach Dick Parsons. "If we turn it over down low, we have a chance to get back on defense. And it was three or four different people trapping. We'd turn it over and there wasn't anybody back."

The Hawks snapped Morgantown's run with a basket in the opening minute of the third quarter. The Mohigans quickly answered with a pair of baskets and were back in rhythm on offense and defense. MHS eventually pushed the lead up to 41 points by the end of the third.

Morgantown's bench played the final 12 minutes of the game and outscored UHS, 27-11. Matt Simpson had 10 points and five rebounds and Dan Dalton added eight points and five assists to lead the reserves.

"We were sitting there on the bench talking and we looked up and we were up by 20," Shaver said. "The next time we looked up, we were up by 40 or something like that. That was really exciting. We're not used to something like that. We always try to come out and get something like that, but we didn't expect that tonight."

Neither did Yester, who has coached boys' basketball at UHS and MHS. Yester has been involved in the rivalry for 32 years and nothing he witnessed previously compared with Friday's second half mismatch.

"Not that I can recall when the other side could not score," Yester said. "I've seen 20 points go away and the other team win ... They had six, eight layup chances that rolled in and out. We'd get the rebound and go the other way and score. Sometimes it just feels like there's a lid on it. But that's the way it goes."