Pulls out 57-55 win
BY MARK SCHRAF The Dominion Post
Tuesday night’s home game with East Fairmont was a big game for coach Tom Yester’s Morgantown High basketball team, no doubt about it.
Not Morgantown against University big, of course, but big nonetheless.
Both teams had won four of their last five, and the Mohigans, with only one loss in the North Central Athletic Conference, wanted to pull away from the Bees, who entered the game 3-3 in the NCAC.
Plus, the last time the two met, just under a month ago in Fairmont, MHS squeaked out a 48-46 win, so the Mohigans knew it wasn’t going to be a relaxing, rest-your-starters-in-the-fourth-quarter kind of game.
It wasn’t, but MHS was able to withstand a furious EFH rally in the closing minutes and notch another narrow, two-point win, this time by a 57-55 score.
Several times during the game, MHS (6-4, 4-1) seemed poised to take control, only to see the Bees (6-5, 3-4) scrape their way back into it. The Mohigans led 16-10 after the first quarter, and after Anthony Schifano came off the bench to hit a three-pointer to begin the second frame, their lead jumped to nine.
The MHS advantage seemed ready to jump to double digits when Craig Carey ran ahead of the pack on a fast break, only to have EFH’s athletic center/guard Derek Sevier swat the ball away at the rim.
The key rejection seemed to inspire the Bees, whose patience in their half-court offense eventually led to several backdoor cut layups, and the MHS lead was whittled to a single point at the break, 27-26.
It was more of the same in the second half, as MHS forward J.T. Lewis scored six quick points, but once again, East Fairmont was able to control the ball and the clock and chip away at the MHS bulge until they entered the fourth quarter trailing by just three, at 43-40.
The Mohigans then turned in their most productive two-minute stretch of the game to start the fourth quarter, as Jay Fletcher, Carey, and Taylor Dunn hit consecutive three-pointers, and suddenly MHS had jumped out in front by a dozen points.
But if the first half proved anything, it was that coach Tyrone Asterino’s Bees would keep their poise, and continue to battle. A Carter DeVault three-point bomb, a strong defensive stretch that forced a turnover, and a Zachary Boone driving layup, all in just over one minute, left the Bees trailing by just seven points.
EFH’s switch to full court pressure wasn’t handled efficiently by the Mohigans, and a series of Sevier field goals chopped the deficit down to 54-51 with 2:39 left. A gliding drive through the paint from the top of the key by Lewis with 45 seconds left bumped the lead back up to five, but a pair of DeVault foul shots and a 12-foot jumper from Nick Bonnett sandwiched three missed foul shots from MHS.
Eight seconds remaining, up by one point at 56-55, the Mohigans were beneath their own basket, and badly needed to execute their inbounds set correctly to hold their lead. They did, as Lewis took the ball on the wing and drove the ball to midcourt before he was fouled with five seconds left.
He swished the front end of the one-and-one, but missed the second. Sevier yanked the rebound out of a scrum, dribbled three-quarters the length of the floor, and heaved a desperation three at the buzzer that wasn’t close. Yester heaved his own sigh of relief after the game. “We had chances to put them away, but there are well coached and scrappy, and they’re always good. Thank goodness we found two more points than them tonight. We survived.” Sevier and DeVault each scored 22 points for the Bees, while the Mohigans were led by the high-flying senior duo of Elliot Law, who scored 14, and Lewis, with 13. The Mohigans return to action at home on Thursday in another key NCAC match-up against Fairmont Senior, tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post Morgantown High’s Jeffrey Lewis puts up a shot over East Fairmont’s Zachary Boone during Tuesday night’s game at the MHS gymnasium.