Mohigans, Preston set for states

Robinson, MHS want redemption


    You’ve never seen a poker face on the basketball court until you’ve seen Morgantown High forward Marlan Robinson’s.
    Win by 20 points or lose on a lastsecond shot, Robinson’s demeanor never changes.
    He always has this serious stare on his face, no matter what, and to a point, that seems to be a characteristic of the fourth-seeded Morgantown High boys’ basketball team as it prepares for Wednesday’s state tournament.
    “This program has been to the state tournament the last four years and there’s really nothing to show for it,” Robinson said after practice on Monday. “It’s an exciting time for us right now, but we are all looking at this as a business trip. This tournament is being taken very seriously.”
    MHS has exited after round one in the past three tournaments, last year as the No. 1-ranked team, while losing in the semifinals twice. The Mohigans (19-5) were also first-round victims in 2000.
    “We’ve got to win, because I think everybody is frustrated with losing,” Robinson said. “Get to the championship, something like that to make all of the frustration go away.”
    The Mohigans will face fifth-seed South Charleston (16-8) at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, at the Charleston Civic Center. A victory advances MHS to a semifinal showdown with either No. 8 Preston or top-seed Huntington.
    Last year, MHS and Huntington met in the first round. The Highlanders jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start the game and won, 63-52. Robinson said last year’s bad start is still a topic of conversation, at least a small one.
    “It’s talked about, yes, but we’ve also moved on,” said Robinson, who is second on the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game. “This is a totally different team. It was obviously a heartbreaker for us last year.
    “It’s something we don’t want to happen again, that’s for sure.”
    MHS and South Charleston met earlier in the season, an 82-74 victory by the Mohigans on Dec. 27.
    The Black Eagles have an explosive scoring combo in forward Josh Daniel and point guard Klint Frazier. The two combined for 60 points in the loss to MHS.
    “I’m not saying anything bad about South Charleston, because I think they have a great team,” Robinson said. “If you can contain those two guys, you have a great chance to win the game. I’m talking about trying to hold them to like a combined 38-40 points.
    “If we can do that, our defense can make a difference. I think our defense has been playing great lately.”
    Robinson knows a lot of names can be made at the state tournament, but said he’s more worried about escaping past frustrations.
    “If I have to score 25, then I’m ready,” Robinson said. “Whatever it takes for this team to win. For me, I think I have to be ready to penetrate to the basket, but then be able to kick it out to our shooters. That’s kind of how I see things going for me.”


 Bob Gay/The Dominion Post MHS forward Marlan Robinson avoids John Marshall defenders at an earlier matchup between the two schools. The low-key Robinson and the Mohigans are preparing for Wednesday’s state tournament.