Mohigans fall hard to Huntington High

Highlanders too tall for Morgantown


    CHARLESTON — Like Preston High in the first round, the Morgantown High boys’ basketball team got a rude introduction to Huntington High center Patrick Patterson.
    The 6-foot-8 Patterson was again dominant with 17 points, 13 rebounds, six blocks in an 84-39 victory over the Mohigans on Friday night in the state semifinals, at the Charleston Civic Center.
    “This will be brief,” MHS coach Tom Yester said to start his postgame press conference. “They’re very good and we weren’t very good. Patrick got them going and his teammates fed off him.
    “Patrick has really come into his own. There’s not too many Division I prospects in this state, but I would say he’s one right now.”
    And the scary thing, folks, is Patterson is just a sophomore.
    “Coach (Lloyd McGuffin) told me I had to play like an animal on the boards tonight,” Patterson said. “He told me I had to play like it was going to be my last game and that’s what I tried to do.”
    The Highlanders (23-2) advance to tonight’s Class AAA championship to face either Capital or Woodrow Wilson. The Mohigans finished the season 20-6.
    Unlike last year’s meeting in the first round between the two teams, the first quarter was competitive, with Huntington leading, 15-9, heading into the second quarter. When they met last year in the first round of the state tournament, Huntington jumped out to an 11-0 lead and never trailed.
    “It got out of hand quickly after the first quarter,” Yester said. “Even when we did something right it still turned out wrong.”
    Patterson began to get in his groove, as he continued to either block shots or completely alter drives to the basket. When the Mohigans got the ball into the post, players were usually looking for a quick way to send it back to the guards before Patterson did.
    “I thought we were able to drive past their guards tonight. It seemed like we could do that,” said MHS guard Chris Carey, who hit the game-winner on Wednesday against South Charleston to advance the Mohigans. “He forces you to alter everything. He’s so big and so quick.
    “You simply can’t do the things you usually do. He’s the man.”
    The Highlanders’ overall defense was impressive. Huntington blocked 10 shots and forced 20 turnovers, while holding the Mohigans to just 20 percent (13 of 64) from the floor.
    “I thought it was a great overall defensive effort from our kids,” McGuffin said. “We were able to turn up the defensive pressure after the first quarter and that kind of got things going.”
    McGuffin said he wanted his team to hold either Carey or MHS guard Marlan Robinson to less than double figures. Those two combined for 60 points on Wednesday in the victory over South Charleston, but the Highlanders held them both to just 10 combined points.
    Carey and John Oliver both finished with seven points — no Mohigan went into double figures.
    Heath Thomas also had 17 points for Huntington, while Mike Taylor added 13 and Adam Yeager scored 10.
    “When we started to get our running game going, I think that’s when we felt it,” Yeager said. “We like to try and force teams to play catch-up and throw the knockout punch.”

AP photo Huntington’s Patrick Patterson (left) dunks the ball over Morgantown’s Quinn Law on Friday during a Class AAA semifinal game in the boys’ state basketball tournament in Charleston.

    Kerns 1-2 2-2 4, Oliver 1-3 4-4 7, Carey 3-13 1-2 7, Q.Law 1-2 0-0 2, Robinson 1-8 1-2 3, Siriwardane 0-10 2-2 2, E.Law 1-3 0-0 2, Lewis 1-4 0-0 2, Lindsay 1-7 1-2 3, Hatfield 2-7 0-0 4, Holt 0-1 0-0 0, Dunn 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 13-64 11-14 39.
    Taylor 5-9 2-2 13, Yeager 4-7 1-1 10, Thomas 7-10 1-2 17, Ward 0-3 2-4 2, Patterson 8-11 1-2 17, Williams 2-7 0-0 4, Early 1-4 3-4 5, Clayton 1-3 2-2 4, Tardy 1-2 0-0 2, Wild 0-4 0-0 0, Senior 2-3 4-6 8, Humphrey 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 32-65 16-23 84. Morgantown 9 11 11 8—39 Huntington 15 25 25 19—84
    3-Point goals-—Morgantown 2-14 (Oliver 1-2, Dunn 1-3, Hatfield 0-1, Lindsay 0-2, Siriwardane 0-2, Robinson 0-2, Carey 0-2), Huntington 4-12 (Thomas 2-4, Yeager 1-1, Taylor 1-2, Wild 0-2, Williams 0-3). Fouled out—none. Rebounds—Morgantown 39 (Hatfield 6), Huntington 49 (Patterson 13). Assists—Morgantown 6 (Kerns 3), Huntington 15 (Patterson, Wild 4). Total fouls—Morgantown 18, Huntington 15.A—na.