MHS, Knights face difficult opponents

Yester sees no weak spots on S. Charleston


    This is what the Morgantown and Preston High boys’ basketball teams are up against in today’s state tournament, at the Charleston Civic Center.
    The fourth-seeded Mohigans (19-5) take on No. 5 South Charleston (16-8) in an 11:15 a.m. game, while the No. 8 Knights (12-11) play top-seeded Huntington (21-2) at 7:15 p.m.
    In South Charleston, you have one of the state’s top scoring combos in forward Josh Daniel and guard Klint Frazier.
    Daniel is an inside-outside player that can shoot the 3-pointer, while also having the ability to score down low. Frazier is a deadly 3-point shooter that can also drive to the basket.
    “I would say they are the No. 1 combo in the state,” MHS coach Tom Yester said. “Josh creates his own shot, while Klint gets out and can run you to death. Josh is the total package. He can run, shoot, pass and rebound. We definitely have to make him work on the defensive end.”
    In the Mohigans’ 82-74 victory over South Charleston in December, Frazier scored a game-high 37 points, while Frazier added 23.
    “We couldn’t stop Daniel the first game,” Yester said. “Hopefully, we do a little better job this time. We’ll have to if we want to advance.”
    Meanwhile, Huntington has the state’s top center in sophomore Patrick Patterson. Some local fans may remember Patterson from last year’s state tournament in the Highlanders’ 63-52 victory over Morgantown.
    The 6-foot-9 center, who is getting some major Division I looks, is much improved this season, averaging 13 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
    “Well, they have much more than just Patterson,” Preston coach Barry Sanders said. “But, you look at him and he’s an intimidating figure. One of our keys to the game will be our post play and you have to figure he’ll make it very difficult on us.”
    And from the oh-by-the-way category, while MHS and PHS will be going up against some of the top players in the state, they may also be facing two of the top overall teams.
    “There’s really no weakness on their team, outside they’re not very tall and thank goodness for that,” Yester said of the Black Eagles, who have won their last eight games. “They play tough man-to-man defense and they will try and run you out of the building.
    “This could be a fun game to watch. They may make fewer adjustments than we do. We want to run, also, plus we really need to be able to score from the weakside. We have to be able to hit the skip passes and hit some jumpers before they can get to us.”
    As for Huntington, well, there’s a reason why they’re the top seed.
    “They’re athletic and they jump out of the building,” Sanders said. “They shoot well and they have great post play. They’ll probably pressure us fullcourt all the time, so we have to be able to handle that.
    “They’re the best team down there, I think. We have to be able to stand up to them, though. We’ve got to play tough on the boards and box out and we have to make some shots.”
Tournament glance
PARKERSBURG (AP) — Pairings for the boys state high school basketball tournament at the Charleston Civic Center:
Quarterfinals Wednesday No. 4 Morgantown (19-5) vs. No. 5 South Charleston (16-8), 11:15 a.m. No. 1 Huntington (21-2) vs. No. 8 Preston (12-11), 7:15 p.m. Thursday No. 3 Woodrow Wilson (17-7) vs. No. 6 Jefferson (19-5), 11:15 a.m. No. 2 Capital (20-4) vs. No. 7 Buckhannon-Upshur (18-7), 7:15 p.m. Semifinals Friday Morgantown-South Charleston winner vs. Huntington-Preston winner, 5:30 p.m. Woodrow Wilson-Jefferson winner vs. Capital-Buckhannon-Upshur winner, 9 p.m. Championship Saturday Semifinal winners, 7:15 p.m.