'We survived'

Mohigans hold off plucky Byrd, 57-49; Cabell Midland up next

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post

Ronnie Shaver pulls down a rebound for Morgantown.

WHEELINGCENTAL tip-in at buzzer sends defending champ Williamson home. Page 3-B.


The Dominion Post

CHARLESTON -- Morgantown High boys' basketball coach Tom Yester didn't need the help of a stat sheet to tell the story of his Mohigans' 57-49 victory over Robert C. Byrd, Thursday night, in the first round of the boys' state basketball tournament.

"I know this one wasn't pretty," Yester said. "We've done it better before."

Indeed. The Mohigans (22-3), the state's top-ranked team in the MetroNews Power Index , have done it better.

Much better.

But at this stage in the game, being pretty doesn't count for as much as an ugly 3-pointer.

No, the Mohigans did not look like a team that has won 14 consecutive games. No, they did not look like one of the top-ranked teams in the state. And no, the Mohigans' final statistics won't set anybody's eyes on fire, but ...

"We survived," Yester said. "That's the name of the game."

Morgantown's victory sets up a meeting with Cabell Midland (23-3) in the state semifinals, at 9:30 tonight.

It's the first time since 1987 that the Mohigans have advanced past the first round. Robert C. Byrd finished at 19-6.

"I thought we started the game the way we wanted to," Yester said. "After that, we forgot what got us here."

The first quarter was all Morgantown, as the Mohigans went on a 12-0 run to start the game and ended the quarter leading, 20-6.

"They called a timeout, and switched to a zone defense," said MHS center Nick Hedges, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds. "That zone took us out of the flow of the game and we could never get back into it."

Byrd's zone brought the Mohigans' running game to a slow jog, and the Flying Eagles trailed just 30-23 at halftime.

"The boys played hard tonight," RCB coach Chris Sprenger said. "We just dug ourselves into too big of a hole in the first quarter. The kids fought back, but we just couldn't get over the hump."

The Flying Eagles continued to chip away in the second half and with 41 seconds to play, RCB trailed, 51-49.

"We knew they weren't going to quit," Yester said. "That's not the type of team they are."

Bobby Prim, who finished with 16 points for MHS, hit two free throws to make it, 53-49, with 33 seconds left.

That's when the bottom dropped out for the Flying Eagles.

As they brought the ball up the court against Morgantown's full-court pressure, the ball came loose at midcourt and a mass of bodies jumped after it.

Robert C. Byrd's Bobby Buffey got to it first and called time out, but the Flying Eagles didn't have any.

"There were too many things going on through my mind," Buffey said. "There was a lot of pressure at that moment."

After Prim missed two free throws, Hedges got the rebound and was fouled. Hedges made both to seal the game.

Justin Vidovich tied Prim for game-high honors with 16 points and added 11 rebounds. R.J. Coleman led Robert C. Byrd with 14 points.

Box score



Shaver 3-9 0-0 6, Vidovich 7-14 1-3 16, Prim 4-10 6-11 16, Fogarty 2-6 0-0 4, Hedges 6-11 3-5 15, Rodamer 0-0 0-0 0, Simpson 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 22-51 10-21 57.


Lockett 2-8 1-2 5, Prairie 1-4 0-0 3, Buffey 4-12 1-3 9, DeFazio 5-14 1-2 12, Coleman 7-12 0-0 14, Wright 1-3 0-0 2, Bealko 0-0 0-0 0, Pettrey 2-5 0-0 4, Barberio 0-1 0-0 0, Menendez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-59 3-7 49.

Morgantown20 10 13 14--57

Robert C. Byrd 6 17 12 14--49

3-point goals--Morgantown 3-12 (Prim 2-5, Vidovich 1-3, Hedges 0-2, Shaver 0-2), Robert C. Byrd 2-17 (Prairie 1-3, DeFazio 1-5, Coleman 0-1, Wright 0-2, Buffey 0-2, Lockett 0-4).

Rebounds--Morgantown 40 (Vidovich 11), Robert C. Byrd 34 (DeFazio 10). Assists--Morgantown 10 (Hedges 3), Robert C. Byrd 11 (Buffey, Coleman 3). Total fouls--Morgantown 9, Robert C. Byrd 19. Technical-- Barberio, Robert C. Byrd bench. Fouled out--Lockett.