Prep powerhouses return star players

Mohigans face stronger local challengers

JUSTIN JACKSON is a sports reporter for The Dominion Post. He can be reached at 
    Last basketball season saw both the Morgantown High and Preston High boys’ basketball teams advance to the state tournament, along with the reemergence of University High and the continued building of a strong Trinity program.
    It could be more of the same this season — with some twists.
    One thing’s for certain, though, this area will not be short on star power.
    Marlan Robinson leads the way for the Mohigans, which will be looking for their fifth consecutive 20-win season. The versatile senior forward averaged 13.3 points per game last season and MHS coach Tom Yester expects that number, along with a lot of Robinson’s other stats to rise.
    “Marlan has to be the key for us and we’ve told him that,” Yester said. “He definitely has the size and ability to put a team on his back and carry it. You know, we’d like to see 20 points a night from him, but I’d also like to see double digits in rebounds from him, as well.
    “He has to do a little bit of everything for us.”
    University High finished 11-12 last season, but was a much stronger team in the second half. The Hawks return two double-digit scorers, along with one of the area’s top post players in Grant Meadows (8.2 ppg).
    There seems to be a wealth of talent spread across the Hawks’ roster starting with shooter Jedd Gyorko (18.9 ppg, 67 3-pointers) and swingman L.C. Jefferson (14.2 ppg), but there’s also depth at point guard with Ryan Nehlen and Justin Collins, who moved to the area after playing for Fairmont Senior last season.
    Trinity went 21-3 last season, but was upset in the regional tournament and missed out on the state tournament. The Warriors also have a inside-outside player in senior Grant Neely (14.0 ppg), who passed the 1,000-point mark last season.
    The good news for Trinity is Neely will be surrounded by a host of senior talent and leadership.
    “I think we have some solid talent that can make another run and challenge for the region again,” Trinity coach Herman Pierson said. “We have a lot of experience back, but we also have some guys who are ready to step it on the defensive end. We’ve never really had much trouble putting the ball in the hoop, but we have to be able to play better defensively.”
    Preston High has a budding star in forward-center Josh Adams (10.0 ppg), a 6-foot-3 junior, but the Knights also return center Drew DuPont.
    “Right now our strength is in the post, which is the way I like it,” PHS coach Barry Sanders said. “We have to develop our touch from the outside.
    “What I do like about this bunch is the way they work on defense.”
    Sanders said sophomore Major Myers could be a key for them at point guard and the Knights will also need contributions from seniors J.J. Johnson, Brooks Mersing, Justin Kelley and Zach Wotring.
    Clay-Battelle finished 8-15 last season, but coach Frank Skubis said he can see a turnaround in the program.