Balanced Mohigans boys move on, 77-72

Carey (34 points), mates send Hawks home


    If you were to break down Morgantown’s 77-72 victory against University High, in the Region I, Section 2 championship game, you would have to go much further than the box score.
    Sure, there were the 34 points by Chris Carey, who drove to the basket with reckless abandon and shot from the outside with the precision of a sniper. At times Carey carried the Mohigans and willed them to victory, while at others it was teammates who don’t take up much of the scouting report making the right plays at the right time.
    Key moments, crucial situations — they all belonged to the Mohigans (16-7) on Thursday night.
    One moment belonged to John Hatfield, a reserve who didn’t even score a basket, but when he chased down a loose ball in the third quarter and flipped a no-look pass behind his back to Carey for a layup it created enough momentum to carry the Mohigans for a stretch.
    During another stretch, it was Dusty Kerns coming off the bench to hit a key layup to end a scoring drought. Kerns also made two crucial free throws with 48 seconds left to give the Mohigans a 73-70 advantage.
    “Really, I think our depth was the difference tonight,” Kerns said. “I think we went about 10 deep tonight and it seemed like everybody made a play one way or the other. That was the difference in the game.”
    There was more. With 3:34 remaining in the third quarter, Morgantown’s second-leading scorer, Marlan Robinson, picked up his fourth foul. MHS had a six-point lead at the time. With Robinson out, one might think the Hawks (11-12) would take advantage.
    Instead MHS increased the lead to eight points, 61-53, to start the fourth.
    Whether it was a key offensive rebound and putback by Quinn Law or jumpshot by Emil Siriwardane, the Mohigans seemed to get just enough for a victory that advanced them to Tuesday’s Region I final, at Wheeling Jesuit University.
    “We got a little bit from everybody,” MHS coach Tom Yester said. “It was a good team effort and we were fortunate enough to get out of here with a win. I thought University High played a great game, but I thought we had just enough balance to get us through.”
    The Hawks, too, had their moments, but as in other close losses this season, UHS just couldn’t find enough to get over the hump.
    “We’ve certainly seen it before in other close games this season,” UHS coach Bruce Clinton said. “One shot here or there makes a difference. One play can make a difference. You have to give Morgantown credit, when a play had to be made they made them.”
    UHS whittled at the eight-point deficit throughout the fourth quarter as forward Dallion Lewis, who sat out most of the first half with foul trouble, started to get hot.
    A Lewis fadeaway jumper cut the MHS lead to 70-66, with 2:08 left in the game, and then he sank two free throws to make it 70-68, with 1:33 left. After Carey went 1-for-2 from the line, Jedd Gyorko scored to make it 71-70.
    There was 51 seconds left — and it was difference-making time. Kerns made his two free throws to give MHS a three-point lead.
    On the Hawks’ next possession, Gyorko, who finished with 16 points, saw his shot rim in and out after a drive to the basket.
    “You’d probably like a little better shot, maybe a kickout in that situation, but you can’t fault the kid for taking the shot,” Clinton said. “Jedd is trying to make a play and he’s our best shooter, so I had no problem with it. I don’t know, if it goes in, it could be a different story, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
    MHS scored its next four points from the line, with UHS forced to take desperation shots the rest of the way.
    Robinson added 16 points for MHS to go with Carey’s career night, and Kerns added nine points.
    Lewis finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. L.C. Jefferson scored all 14 of his points in the first half and Grant Meadows added 12 points and seven rebounds.
    “Really, we didn’t want our season to come to an end tonight,” Kerns said. “It was such a physical game and everybody was into it. It’s the kind of game you love to be a part of.”


Jonah Myers/The Dominion Post Morgantown High’s Quinn Law leans into University’s Matt Lemine to shoot a layup, in Thursday’s sectional championship game.