Young Warriors dream big; MHS lives nightmare
Mohigans lose much size next year
BY JUSTIN JACKSON
The Dominion Post
CHARLESTON -- Trinity boys' basketball coach Herman Pierson knows all about tradition.
He's well aware of the success private Christian schools have at the state basketball tournament. His Trinity campus is just a 10-minute drive from Morgantown High, which has qualified for the state tournament the past three seasons.
Pierson feels his program is headed in that same direction.
"You never like to come all the way down here and lose," Pierson said following the Warriors' 58-56 loss to Tucker County in a Class A quarterfinal game Thursday. "I think it's been a positive experience for our kids, though. I think they know more what to expect and what it takes to come down here and play well."
Meanwhile, it was a bitter defeat for Morgantown, which entered its Class AAA quarterfinal game as the state's No. 1-ranked team. The 63-52 loss to a younger Huntington team ended the Mohigans' dream of winning their first state title.
"We certainly expected to play better than we did," MHS coach Tom Yester said. "We didn't make any plays. We didn't play very good defense and we couldn't shoot the ball until it was too late.
"Why did it happen? I wish I had the answer to that one. If I knew why, we wouldn't have done it."
While Trinity will enter next season looking to build on this foundation, the Mohigans will have some holes to fill. MHS will graduate three starters, all of whom averaged more than 11 points a game. Leading scorer Chris Carey (12.5 ppg) returns, as does point guard Dusty Kerns, but the Mohigans lose a lot of size in Ben Torsney (6-6), Kameron Law (6-7) and Tyler Benson (6-6).
"This has been one of the better senior classes I've ever had," Yester said. "They've worked extremely hard over their four years and they've been a part of some very big victories for this program."
Trinity entered the tournament as one of the younger teams. The Warriors had only three seniors on the roster and will return their two leading scorers in Danny Webster (19.7 ppg) and Grant Neely (15.3 ppg). Also, Trinity will open the doors to its new 36-acre campus next fall and a new gymnasium.
"There's certainly a lot to get excited about when you talk about the future of the school," Pierson said. "The new school is really going to be something to see and it can only be a positive for our students."
Trinity will continue to grow, Pierson said they had to turn back some students this year because there was no more room.
"That obviously won't be a problem with the new school," Pierson said. "As for this team, I think we can only get better. We'll continue to work on our schedule and make it better. There's things that we'll do that will help this program to grow."
Making it to the state tournament for the first time was a step in the right direction.
"You'll always have your jitters, no matter how many times you come down here," Pierson said. "Our kids are disappointed after losing, because they felt they had a real good shot. This can certainly be turned into a positive, though, when you talk about the long run."