The right time
MHS duo steps up to win sectional title
BY BOB HERTZEL The Dominion Post
Heroes happen.
They aren’t born. They aren’t made.
They don’t ask to be heroes, sometimes don’t even know that they are heroes.
They just find themselves at the right place at the right time and do the right thing.
This morning J.T. Lewis and Jay Fletcher are high school heroes of the first magnitude, their names etched alongside others who found a way to make the difference in a big game against crosstown rival University High.
Those two converged at just the right moment and gave the Mohigans the impetus to score a 57-49 victory and win the Class AAA Region I, Section II championship.
As it always is when Morgantown and University get together, this was a dogfight. Morgantown had taken a 24-18 lead at the end of a ragged first half, then seen the Hawks’ Ben Hewitt completely dominate the third quarter, scoring 10 points on a variety of drives and a 3-point shot and adding an assist as University carried a 34-33 lead into the final quarter.
Eight minutes to go, one-point game and the season on the line, the winner advancing to play the winner of tonight’s Wheeling Park-John Marshall game for a right to go to Charleston for the state tournament.
The loser would go home.
Halfway through the final quarter University was still clinging to that one-point lead when J.T. Lewis, who has many skills but who is not known as a 3-point shooter, hit a 3.
“I did?” he said when questioned about it after the game, hardly remembering it.
He did.
Moments later Hewitt made a move to the basket but Jay Fletcher skied to block the shot, Lewis scooping it off the ground. As soon as he blocked the shot, Fletcher broke ahead of the field. Lewis took a couple of dribbles and saw him streaking. Between him and Fletcher were a pair of Hawk defenders. It seemed as though there was no way to get him the ball but Lewis unleashed a nasty bounce pass that was out of the reach of everyone but Fletcher, who took it in stride and hit a layup, drew a foul and made the free throw.
Suddenly, this tight game wasn’t so tight, Morgantown ahead by five points.
“I knew he could get the ball to me,” said Fletcher of Lewis’ pinpoint pass that led to the final three of his team-high 17 points.
From that point on, Lewis hit another layup to give him 11 points and Morgantown knocked down seven of eight free throws to clinch it, a huge turnaround considering University had defeated MHS twice during the regular season.
Veteran coach Tom Yester credited his team’s depth and preparation for the victory.
“We worked on their sets until the cows came home,” Yester said.
Yester assigned young Craig Carey to senior Jedd Gyorko and Carey did a spectacular job of guarding UHS’s leading scorer, holding him to five points at the half and seven through three quarters.
Gyorko finished with 17 points and was high in his praise of Carey.
“He’s a solid player and improved a lot this year,” said a disappointed Gyorko, who saw his high school basketball career end. “It was one of those nights. Shots weren’t falling. I tried to keep shooting. I’ve played four years of varsity basketball and I guess it hasn’t hit me yet that it’s over.”
It did hit UHS coach Bruce Clinton, whose team got off to a fast start but lost five of its final six games.
“We didn’t play as hard as we should have in the first half,” said Clinton. “If we played like we did in the second half for the whole game it might have been different.
“We missed a ton of drives to the basket. You can’t miss those against a good club. They got a second wind and took advantage of it.”

Todd Flint/The Dominion Post
University’s Jedd Gyorko (3) tries to shake Morgantown’s Craig Carey during Thursday’s Class AAA sectional game at Morgantown High School. Gyorko scored 17 points but it wasn’t enough as Carey and the Mohigans won the sectional title.