Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on March 30, 2003.
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Yester led surprising Mohigans to Final Four


Bob Gay/The Dominion Post

Tom Yester led Morgantown High to its second consecutive 20-win season.

The Dominion Post

Sometimes the second time around can be just as good as the first.

Just ask Morgantown High boys' basketball coach Tom Yester.

Yester, who guided the Mohigans to a 21-5 record and a second consecutive trip to the state's Class AAA Final Four, has been named The Dominion Post's Coach of the Year. It's the second consecutive time Yester has won the award.

In those two seasons, MHS has sported a record of 43-9 and the Mohigans also won the North Central Athletic Conference this season. It was the first conference title for MHS since 1996.

"Well, when you win the conference, you usually get the coach's honor," Yester said after earning the NCAC Coach of the Year honor. "Any coach will tell you they're only as good as their players and we certainly had some hard working guys this season."

Yester took a team with four new starters this year and almost took them all the way.

That would have come as a surprise, except Yester had done the same the year before, too.

"There were some similarities between the two teams," Yester said. "This year's team survived more on defense. Athletically speaking, we may be a tad more athletic than last year."

The Mohigans did thrive on defense, holding opponents to just 52.5 points per game, but MHS also had its share of offensive threats.

Kameron Law and Tyler Benson, two players that stepped up from last year's junior varsity program, took off in Yester's system.

Law led the team in scoring at 13.5 points and was named the NCAC Player of the Year, while Benson led the area with 61 3-pointers and averaged 12.4 points per game.

The lone returning starter from last year, Seth Fogarty, was the team's leading rebounder at 6-foot-2 and averaged 11.3 points.

It was a team that took the state by storm after beginning the season with a thud.

The Mohigans started 1-2, caused by a lack of team play mixed with injured players.

Once Yester righted the ship, MHS won 16 consecutive games and rose as high as No. 4 in the state rankings.

Along the way, MHS picked up some eye-opening victories. For the first time in school history, the Mohigans picked up a road win over Wheeling Park. In the first round of the state tournament, MHS beat Woodrow Wilson for the first time.

"The kids' accomplishments speak for themselves," Yester said. "That's the first time we've ever beaten Woodrow Wilson. We beat Wheeling Park at Park for the first time. It's been a year worth remembering."

And with three starters returning for next year, it appears the Mohigans are no longer sneaking up on anybody.

"We're looking for bright things down the road," Yester said. "We feel good with who we've got coming back."