Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on March 18, 2003.
Future arrives early for MHS boys' basketball

Mohigans begin state tourney play Thursday

Ian Benson/The Dominion Post

Morgantown High's Kameron Law dunks against University High in a recent game at MHS gym. Law leads the Mohigans in scoring at 13.4 points and has been a major factor in MHS's run to the state tournament.


The Dominion Post

At the beginning of the season, Morgantown High boys' basketball coach Tom Yester took one look at his roster and thought it would be a team to be reckoned with ... next year.

"There was an element with this team that it might be a team of the future," Yester said Monday. "We have some talent, but most of it was with kids who had never started before."

Turns out the future is now for the Mohigans, who enter the state tournament as the No. 4-ranked team in the state.

MHS (20-4) will play No. 2 Woodrow Wilson (20-4), at 7:45 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the tournament, at the Charleston Civic Center.

So what exactly were Yester's expectations going into the season.

"Certainly it wasn't 20-4," he said. "I was thinking more along the lines of 15 or 16 wins. I thought we would be better than average."

Not bad thinking, considering the Mohigans lost four starters from a team that advanced to the state semifinals.

But, there seems to be a theme developing with the Mohigans. The team last year was undersized and comprised of athletes who were role players the season before.

In truth, there were probably less expectations for last year's team than this year.

Yet, for the second consecutive season, the Mohigans have gelled together and developed into one of the state's best.

It has surprised the coach and it's also surprised the players.

"I wasn't thinking state tournament at the beginning of the year," said forward Kameron Law, who leads the team in scoring at 13.4 points.

"I was thinking maybe we would have a good showing at sectionals and maybe advance to the regionals.

"That was about it, though. A state tournament for this team? I didn't see it at the beginning of the year. We were a long shot."

It didn't look good for MHS at the start, either, beginning the season 1-2.

"That kind of made things even worse," Law said. "We realized we were turning the ball over too much and we weren't playing good defense. We weren't playing together as a team."

The Mohigans went on to rip off 16 straight, gaining statewide attention and a rise in the rankings.

"We did it with teamwork and defense," Law said.

"Defense is the key to our team. The guys just came together and we started to take off."

So, for the second consecutive season, Yester built a contender out of a team thought to be a pretender.

Now, come on coach, how did you do it?

"For the last two years, we've been fortunate enough to have kids who are very competitive," Yester said. "We've had a nice mix of athletes off the football team with kids who do nothing but play basketball.

"Now, the kids off the football team are used to winning. Their work ethic mixed well with the other players on the team."

Last year the Mohigans went to the Final Four. Already having exceeded expectations this year, what is Yester expecting at the state tournament.

"Our bracket couldn't be any tougher," Yester said. "Woodrow Wilson is a great team. If you win that one, you're looking at either Martinsburg or Spring Valley, who is the No. 1 team.

"Really, we just have to go down there and remain focused. We have to remember what got us there and just play as hard as we can. If we can do that, we should be OK."