Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on December 29, 2002.

This time Mohigans boys hang on, 81-78


The Dominion Post

Morgantown High's Tim Williams watched Brian John sink his second straight free throw Saturday afternoon and glanced up at the scoreboard, at MHS gym.

It read: Morgantown 78, Laurel Highlands (Uniontown, Pa.) 73, with 51.7 seconds left.

Where had Williams seen this before?

"I was thinking the same thing happened last night," the senior said.

Yes, MHS led Westland (Columbus, Ohio) by five points with 1:01 to play Friday and collapsed down the stretch in a disheartening 54-52 defeat in its first game in the West Virginia Coaches Against Cancer Holiday Tournament.

Were the Mohigans about to fold for a second consecutive night?

"We weren't going to let it happen again," Williams said. "We couldn't lose this game. We settled down and did what we had to do to finish it."

Laurel Highlands took advantage of two turnovers to tie the game at 78, but the Mohigans responded at the end. Kameron Law drilled a 3-pointer with 5.6 seconds left as MHS claimed the consolation title with an 81-78 victory.

"We gave one away yesterday; we were fortunate today," MHS coach Tom Yester said. "I thought we controlled the game pretty well. We tightened up a little bit at the end again and had a bunch of turnovers right when it counted. It was more our fault than anything else."

Nobody on the Mohigans could fault Law for taking the shot with the game on the line. The 6-foot-7 junior has earned his teammates' confidence and trust with his long-range shooting ability.

"Law was fine taking that shot," Yester said. "He had the confidence to take it at the end. He's a good shooter."

After Law's shot swished through the hoop, the Mohigans (2-2) were grateful to see a close game fall their way after a 77-76 overtime loss to East Fairmont and the two-point defeat against Westland.

"It was a real big win," said Williams, who contributed seven points off the bench. "We lost our past two games. We thought we needed to come out here and get a win and get some momentum. It's a whole new year starting soon. We can put this behind us and get right into it."

Seth Fogarty paced the Mohigans with 20 points. Ben Torsney, who started at center, pumped in 17 points. Tyler Benson had 16 points, while Law added 11.

Laurel Highlands' Corey Nesser led all scorers with 23 points. Paul Briczinski and Andre Ramsey registered 14 points apiece.

"We were able to get some work on the boards today," Yester said. "Fogarty and Torsney did a good job on the offensive glass. Torsney played on the jayvee last year. He has some nice skills. When he plays aggressively like he did today, he can be a factor."

As the season progresses, Yester hopes his team will develop more of a killer instinct. The Mohigans squandered double-digit leads in both of their tournament games.

MHS led Laurel Highlands by as many as 10 points in the first half and by nine early in the fourth quarter. Each time, Laurel Highlands mounted a comeback.

"I figure we'll get that killer instinct," Williams said. "We let both teams get back into it. That's something we need to take care of. We need to get down to business and work on that."

The Mohigans did cut down on their turnovers, albeit just slightly. MHS committed 10 first-half turnovers and eight in the second half. The Mohigans turned the ball over 22 times against Westland, which fell to South Charleston, 56-48, in the championship game.

"We lose our focus and start making turnovers," Yester said. "That's what a young team does. Hopefully, we're going to get that fixed."

MHS returns to action Saturday, at North Central Athletic Conference rival Elkins.