No change in strategy for Hawks

Clinton sees MHS depth overcoming missing duo


JUSTIN JACKSON is a sports reporter for The Dominion Post. He can be reached at 
    Bruce Clinton understands the Morgantown High boys’ basketball team will be without starters Marlan Robinson and Elliott Law for tonight’s crosstown rivalry game, but he sees little difference in the thirdranked Mohigans.
    “I don’t know if they have another guy like Marlan as far as his knowledge and ball handling and overall skills,” the University High coach said. “But, I do know they can bring players off the bench that can score. It’s still Morgantown High and their kids know how to play the game well.”
    Robinson and Law were injured in an automobile accident earlier this week and will not play tonight. Robinson is averaging 20.6 points, Law 5.2.
    So, the way Clinton sees it, his seventh-ranked Hawks (10-1, 8-1 NCAC) will enter tonight’s 7:30 p.m. game, at the UHS gymnasium, with the same strategy.
    “I said long ago that Morgantown High is a measuring stick,” Clinton said. “They’re going to push the ball regardless. They’ll use some new guys, but some of those guys proved they could play the other night against Buckhannon[-Upshur]. We’ll stick to our original plan and make some adjustments as we go.”
    A few things stand out heading into the game.
    The first being defense; both teams play it very well. The Hawks allow just 46.8 points per game, the Mohigans (11-1, 7-0 NCAC) 52.3.
    “Our defense will be extremely important to us, especially with Elliott and Marlan out,” MHS coach Tom Yester said. “You look at their team and you see the two shooters in Jedd [Gyorko] and L.C. [Jefferson]. They also have an experienced post game in [Grant] Meadows, where we don’t have an experienced post game.
    “We can’t sit around and let them shoot 3-pointers all night, especially Jedd, because he’s very much in range at halfcourt. L.C. is playing very confident and can drive to the basket. These are the things we have to recognize.”
    The only loss for the Hawks came in a defensive struggle, 41-40, at Preston, two games ago. Clinton said he wants his team to continue playing good defense, but expects a little more offense in tonight’s game.
    “It could be a low-scoring game or it could be a high-scoring game,” Clinton said. “Either way, I’ll basically have five guys back who have played in this game before and know what it takes. I’d like to see us play good defense and I think we will.”
    MHS junior Jamie Karraker will start in Robinson’s place. He scored 18 points in his first start, against B-U on Wednesday.
    “We’ve got to make up 25 points from somewhere,” Yester said. “Obviously, our depth is hurt, but I don’t think they’re a very deep team either. I think Karraker is as good a 3-point shooter as there is. I think he could shoot with Jedd, but maybe not as much range. The question is, will Jamie be able to get his shot off?”
    If the Mohigans get the victory, it will give them a two-game cushion in the North Central Athletic Conference standings, while the Hawks could pull even with a win. The two teams will meet again, at the MHS gymnasium, on Feb. 10.
    “I just want our guys to go out and give a solid effort and play hard,” Clinton said. “They have to have the attitude that this is MHS and we haven’t beaten them in a long time.”
(3) Morgantown High (11-1)
G: Jeff Lindsay (13.6 ppg) G: John Hatfield (6.8 ppg) F: Jamie Karraker (8.6 ppg) F: J.T. Lewis (6.6 ppg) C: Cameron Taylor (2.3 ppg)
(7) University High (10-1)
G: Jedd Gyorko (16.6 ppg) G: Ryan Nehlen (6.6 ppg) G: L.C. Jefferson (13.1 ppg) F: Ryan Michael (6.2 ppg) C: Grant Meadows (10.8 ppg)