Mohigans’ seniors step up in win
BY MARK SCHRAF The Dominion Post
Ask any coach how he feels about Senior Night, and most will respond with the same word — bittersweet.
Of course, every coach is happy to see their seniors recognized for all those years of hard work, and it’s always nice to look back over the years, to gather up the special memories of good times, good plays, good wins.
And then the whistle blows, and sometimes it can take a while for the nostalgia to wear off.
“Senior Night is always tough mentally,” Morgantown boys’ basketball coach Tom Yester said. “But I think we got through it pretty well tonight.”
And it was the Mohigan seniors - Elliot Law, J.T. Lewis, and Cameron Taylor - who led the way past a game, but undermanned Buckhannon-Upshur team, as MHS pulled away in the fourth quarter to post its 10th North Central Athletic Conference victory of the season, 78-54.
Both teams started the game at a furious pace, a flurry of turnovers, fast-breaks, backdoor-cut lay-ups, and 3-pointers exchanged equally, with the Mohigans holding a narrow 19-15 lead after the first quarter.
MHS cranked up the defense in the second quarter, using a strong, aggressive trap to deflect passes, force giveaways, and convert easy baskets in transition. The home standing Mohigans doubled up the Bucs 18-9 in the second quarter and headed into the break holding a 13-point margin, 37-24.
B-U refused to bow out without giving MHS a fight, cutting the lead down to six late in the third quarter. But MHS’s Jay Fletcher hit a big three-ball after a time-out to extend the lead to nine, and a 12-2 Mohigan run to start the final quarter put the game out of reach.
The Mohigans enjoyed balanced scoring, led by Lewis’ 15 points, Schifano’s 14, and Taylor’s 10, while Zach Cooke came off the bench to score 9, and both Fletcher and Craig Carey chipped in with 8. B-U’s Luke Hyre led all scorers with 17, while Chris Bickel had 13 and Ryan Goodwin reached double figures with 11.
After the game, Yester praised the B-U (7-10, 2-9 in the NCAC) effort as well his own team’s performance.
“We’ve seen Hyre and Godwin for a long time, and they’re good. They can play,” he said. “But we were able to go deep into our rotation, while they weren’t quite so deep, and I think they got a little tired. But we really picked things up defensively, and we ran as well, and when we do that, we can do some good things.”
Commenting on his departing starters, Yester said, “Your seniors are always the heart of your team, and our three have been so consistent for us all year. Just look at them tonight: J.T. has five rebounds, four steals, and seven assists to go along with his 15 points, Cameron shoots 5-of-8 with five rebounds, a block and a steal, and Elliot has five assists and no turnovers. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
Actually, you can, coach.
In a pair of upsets, both Preston and University lost Tuesday night, so the Mohigans, who improved to 15-6 overall, 10-3 in the NCAC, have a chance to grab a share of the conference title when they finish their regular season on the road at Fairmont Senior on Thursday.
And if MHS can take care of the Polar Bears again (they won by a dozen points at home a little over a month ago), there won’t be anything bitter about it at all.
Nope, for the Mohigans, that would be nothing but sweet.

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post
Morgantown’s J.T. Lewis glides to the basket during Tuesday’s game against Buckhannon-Upshur. The Mohigans won and now have a chance at sharing the NCAC title.