Bob Gay/The Dominion Post photos Morgantown Highs Chris Carey
Tough times make for tougher teams
Now its win or go home for UHS, MHS
BY JUSTIN JACKSON The Dominion Post
Adversity? The Morgantown High and University High boys basketball teams faced their fair share this season.
It will come to an end for one team tonight, when the Mohigans (17-5) host the Hawks (11-11) in the Region I, Section 2 championship game, at 7:30 p.m.
The winner advances to next weeks Region I championship, at Wheeling Jesuit University.
The Hawks have been taking a crash course in building team chemistry during the past month.
UHS began the season 1-5, before its guard-oriented offense put together three consecutive victories. On Jan. 20, 6-foot-7 center Grant Meadows joined the team; 6-foot-5 forward Dallion Lewis joined the Hawks nine days later.
Meadows was originally ruled ineligible by the Secondary School Activities Commission because he lived with his father in Morgantown while the remainder of his immediate family remained in Ohio. Meadows became eligible when the entire family moved to Morgantown.
Since then, UHS coach Bruce Clinton has worked to find a way to bring his backcourt and frontcourt together.
Ill be honest, were not as far along as teams usually are at this point in the season, but were a lot closer, considering where we started, Clinton said. I really liked the last two days of practice. I think the kids showed a lot of heart and effort. I think were about as ready as we possibly can be.
Lewis has averaged 15.5 points for UHS in the 10 games hes played, while Meadows has averaged 7.9 points in 13 games.
I really have to give the kids some credit, because they took everything in stride, Clinton said. When you have a big change like that in the middle of the season, it can tear a team apart, but the kids didnt let it bother them. Then we changed our style and I even had to learn to coach a little differently, so it was a lot for them to digest in a short period of time. Meanwhile, the Mohigans have had to overcome some adversity of their own. In early January, two players Anthony Straface and Migel Lockett quit the team. On Feb. 5, starting point guard Dusty Kerns injured his shoulder and missed the next three games, while leading scorer Chris Carey was suspended for the Feb. 18 game, against Brooke, for breaking team rules. In each case, the Mohigans plugged away and kept firing. MHS went 6-1 in the rest of January after Lockett, an all-stater, left. Jeff Lindsay replaced Kerns in the lineup and averaged 12.3 points per game, and Carey has averaged 22.7 points per game since being forced to sit out. With all of it behind him, MHS coach Tom Yester is looking forward to the postseason.
Well, what you hope for is your teams take with them into the tournament what they learned during the season, Yester said. We need to find some good balance. Its a matter of who is going to step up for us.
The Mohigans won both meetings during the regular season, the second one 72-66 on Feb. 10, in a game that was 55-55 heading into the fourth quarter.
The interesting thing when you talk about a tournament situation or a one-and-done situation is, it becomes a crapshoot and anything can happen, Yester said. I think both teams are talented and I think the game can be just as good as the last one.
University Highs Dallion Lewis
(8) Morgantown (17-5) G: Jeff Lindsay (5.3 ppg) G: Chris Carey (19.1 ppg) G: John Oliver (8.1 ppg) F: Marlan Robinson (12.8 ppg) C: Quinn Law (5.6 ppg)
University High (11-11) G: Jedd Gyorko (19.0 ppg) G: Matt Lemine (5.1 ppg) G: L.C. Jefferson (14.2 ppg) F: Dallion Lewis (15.5 ppg) C: Grant Meadows (7.9 pp