Sports in The Dominion Post

This article appeared in the Dominion Post Newspaper on February 28, 2003.
MHS streak over

Bears roar back in last 26 seconds, 54-53

Ian Benson/The Dominion Post

Morgantown High's Seth Fogarty reaches for a rebound against Fairmont Senior.


The Dominion Post

FAIRMONT -- As Morgantown High's winning streak gained momentum in early January and continued into February, the Mohigans' rivals could have been pardoned for thinking it would take an act of God for MHS to lose.

Well, Fairmont Senior's exhilarating 54-53 victory over the No. 4 Mohigans Thursday, at the Woody Williams Armory, wouldn't exactly qualify as an act of God.

It was more like a pact made by Paul.

Polar Bears senior Paul Kettering scored four points in the last 5.1 seconds as No. 7 Fairmont Senior snapped MHS's 16-game victory streak. Kettering drilled a 3-pointer with 5.1 seconds left and then -- after an MHS turnover on the inbounds play -- sank t he game-winning foul shot with 2.1 seconds remaining.

Fortunately for the Mohigans, they had already clinched the North Central Athletic Conference regular-season title.

Kettering made his first four shots in the opening quarter. Then, he didn't score again until he sank the game-tying 3-pointer.

"In the second and third quarter, I wasn't open, so I wasn't shooting," Kettering said. "In the fourth quarter, I got that shot, and I knew there wasn't very much time left. I just put it up and, thankfully, it went in."

MHS coach Tom Yester gave Kettering and his teammates all of the credit.

"I think you saw two teams wanting to win that went as hard as they could go," said Yester, whose team had not tasted defeat since Dec. 27. "That was a terrific high school basketball game. We're very proud of our kids' effort. Congratulations to Fairmont. They played a good ball game."

Fairmont Senior (15-5, 11-3 NCAC) held a 45-39 lead with 3:36 to play. The Mohigans (17-3, 12-2) refused to wilt. Chad Murray, who poured in a game-high 22 points, keyed a 14-3 MHS run. Murray's 3-pointer and then his layup off a steal from Geremy Rodamer put the Mohigans on top, 53-48, with 26 seconds remaining.

The Polar Bears' Nick Bartic converted two free throws to make it 53-50 with 23.1 seconds left.

A critical play followed as the Mohigans could not successfully inbound the ball. It went off the arm of Kameron Law, and the Polar Bears took the ball back. After a Fairmont Senior timeout with 17.1 seconds left, the Polar Bears worked the clock down before Kettering launched his game-tying 3.

"That was one of those shots where as soon as you let it go, you're like, 'That feels good,'" Kettering said. "Then you're like, 'Wait!' You may fool yourself, and it may end up being an airball. It felt good, and it was good."

MHS inbounded the ball under Fairmont Senior's basket with 3.6 seconds left. Rodamer's baseball pass sailed out of bounds, giving the Polar Bears possession under their own basket.

"The last play was supposed to go to Kameron at the foul line," Yester said. "They got a chance on the inbounds."

Rodamer fouled Kettering with 2.1 seconds to play. Kettering hit the first free throw and missed the second on purpose. Law's desperation heave came up short.

"Paul Kettering made three fantastic plays in a row," Fairmont Senior coach David Retton said. "He makes the shot. He makes the free throw. Then he misses the second one."

The loss was a difficult one for the Mohigans, who still have two non-league games left in the regular season before embarking on sectional action.

"We experimented a little bit tonight with a couple of things," Yester said. "This is the time to do it. It was pretty tough to lose that way, but that's the way it goes."

Box score



Fogarty 2 0-0 4, Rodamer 2 3-5 7, Law 3 0-0 7, Benson 3 2-2 10, Murray 9 2-2 22, Simpson 0 0-0 0, Dalton 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-0 0, Minutelli 0 1-2 1, Torsney 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 8-11 53.


Hannah 6 4-5 16, Sutherland 4 1-1 11, Kettering 5 1-2 14, Henson 2 0-0 4, Layfield 1 0-0 2, Cimaglia 1 0-0 2, Bartic 1 3-3 5, Whiting 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 9-11 54.

Morgantown High16 6 13 18 -- 53

Fairmont Senior14 9 14 17 -- 54

3-point goals--Morgantown High 5 (Benson 2, Murray 2, Law 1), Fairmont Senior 5 (Kettering 3, Sutherland 2).