Friday, February 27, 2004 &Mac247; Time: 7:22:22 AM EST

South riding emotional high


PARKERSBURG - Joe Crislip was glad to receive a call from the Parkersburg
News and Sentinel Thursday afternoon.

"We need a good story," the Parkersburg South boys basketball coach said.
With Class AAA No. 1 Morgantown (20-0) set to invade the Rod Oldham Athletic
Center Saturday, Crislip needs more than just a good story. And the coach
knows it.

The Mohigans are one of only two unbeaten teams in the state - the other
being AA Oak Glen - and have won the annual meeting with the Patriots two of
the last three years.

While Parkersburg South (13-7) is riding high, having won seven of its last
eight games, the Patriots have yet to notch a win against the state's upper
echelon teams.

The Patriots have played top 10 schools Woodrow Wilson (three times),
Martinsburg and Robert C. Byrd and have come away with only one win.

That stat doesn't phase the Karma-minded Crislip, who says things are just
fine in the southside universe.

"We've lost to some good teams, but I felt like against Beckley we played
very well. With Dawson not even playing for three quarter we were tied late
in the fourth quarter," Crislip said. "The Karma's high. We've joked about
it all year, but it's high.

"We've made improvements as the year has gone on and we are playing the best
basketball of the year," he added.

One of the key reasons for South's successful run is the team's field goal
shooting. In its last seven games, South is shooting 52 percent from the

Crislip expects Morgantown to try and prevent uncontested shots and open

"They have been successful because of their team play and they switch up
defenses," he said. "If you have an inexperienced team that can create
problems, but I don't see that as a problem for us."

The Patriots will be led into Saturday's shootout by Ryan Dawson, who's
averaging 14 points a game. The 6-foot-4 junior needs only four points to
pass his coach on South's career scoring list. Crislip is 13th with 795
points. Ade Baruwa, the team's top shooter (57 percent), also brings a
double-digit scoring average to Saturday's game (11.6).

The Patriots' offense has also received a shot in the arm from Eric Baileys
(9.3 ppg) Aaron Dobson (8.3 ppg) and Derek Full (5.6), whose improved
scoring and all-around play has helped the team down the stretch.

That's in addition to the always-steady play of point guard Trent

The Mohigans, whose average starter is 6-5, have plenty of weapons in their
arsenal, led by Chris Carey.

The 6-4 hardwood multitool is capable of shooting from long range and
penetrating. He's the team's leading scorer, averaging 14.1 points a game.

"He's very tough to defend and he plays a lot of positions," Crislip says of
Carey. Carey is the son of WVU women's basketball coach Mike Carey. He
transferred to Morgantown after playing at Bridgeport last season.

Aside from Carey, the Mohigans have three other players averaging double
digits; Kameron Law (12.4), Tyler Benson (11.7) and Ben Torsney (11.2).

Crislip is hoping to draw a strong crowd to Saturday's regular-season

After all, he's says, it's not everyday you get to close out the year
against the No. 1 team in the state and have a chance to ruin a perfect

"We want to knock them off and ruin their perfect season," he said. "I don't
mean that in a mean way, but you just don't get to do that very often. We
want to make them earn their victory here."

The last time South closed out the year against a No.1 was in 2000, when the
Patriots stunned Woodrow Wilson in Beckley.

However the thrill was short-lived as the Patriots were knocked off their
perch the following week by Parkersburg in the sectional.

That bitter-sweet pill taught Crislip not to put much stock in Saturday's

"You think, 'Wow we're on a roll,' and then we turn around and lose to PHS
in the sectional," Crislip said. "So I'm not putting a lot of emphasis on
Saturday's outcome. We are going to try and do all that we can to win, but
after the game we'll starting getting focused on the postseason and getting
ready for Parkersburg."