By Matt Poling/Journal Sports Wrier
MARTINSBURG — Aside from shooting baskets all by himself, Brandon Cato will never have a more wide-open shot in his life than the one he had in the final seconds against Morgantown Saturday night at the Martinsburg Fieldhouse.

Martinsburg’s point guard was coasting in for an apparent game-tying layup with nobody around him, but pinned it between the rim and backboard. His brother, Cameron Cato, got the rebound, but missed the contested putback.

The whole scene epitomized the Bulldogs’ night of missed opportunities as Morgantown pulled out the upset, 64-61.

Martinsburg (8-2) still had a chance to tie after that bizarre scene. That’s because on Morgantown’s ensuing possession, Zach Cooke had his shot blocked by Tevin Walker, who was responsible for the prior steal that set up Brandon Cato’s layup opportunity.

Martinsburg came downcourt and Cameron Cato was fouled with 6.7 seconds left. He missed the first free throw before making the second to make it a one-point spread.

Martinsburg, however, couldn’t get a foul as Morgantown (7-2) played keepaway and got a fast-break layup by Anthony Schifano as the game ended.

“We had so many opportunities. We had opportunities all night to win the game,” Martinsburg coach Dave Rogers said.

Instead, the Bulldogs, just when they’d show a flash of a run, would be countered by Morgantown’s excellent execution of its half-court offense. If the Mohigans weren’t penetrating and kicking out for open jumpers, they were burning the Bulldogs’ aggressive defense with back-door cuts for layups.

“Our defense was awful,” Rogers said.

Or Morgantown’s offense was splendid.

“The key to the second half was the execution in the half-court offense,” Morgantown coach Tom Yester said.

Martinsburg picked it up at the end to make a game of it, however. Morgantown committed eight of its 15 turnovers in the final quarter, most of those coming in the final minutes as the Bulldogs pressed frantically.

Morgantown, which never trailed, had stretched its lead back to six with 3:28 to go on a driving layup by Jay Fletcher. Isaac Thornton, who led the Bulldogs with 17 points, got a steal and layup on consecutive possessions to cut the deficit to two. Fletcher countered with a pair of free throws and Schifano, who had 18 points and eight rebounds, made a layup after Martinsburg threw the ball away, extending the lead to 62-56.

Walker scored on a putback for the Bulldogs with 1:03 remaining before Walker got a steal on the press and Brandon Cato hit a hanging, fallaway shot to make it 62-60 with 32 ticks left. The ensuing possession was Walker’s steal and Brandon Cato’s miss.

“At least we kept our composure at the end,” Yester said. “I knew they would make a run, but we did a good job of being calm.”

Calm and cool was what Morgantown was for most of the game as it jumped out to an early 14-5 lead as Martinsburg committed six first-quarter turnovers and made just 3 of 10 shots, most of which were forced after players tried to make one-on-one moves.

Martinsburg got as close as two in the first half and trailed 30-27 at halftime, but every time the Bulldogs looked as though they’d make a run, Morgantown had an answer.

“They ran good offense against us,” Rogers said. “They were tougher than us tonight.”

For Yester’s team, it was indeed a signature win.

“I can’t even remember the last time we won here,” he said. “That’s what we talked about: ‘What do you want to be known for?’ Beating Martinsburg at Martinsburg.”

Neither team shot well — Morgantown 32 percent, Martinsburg 29. Ben Hewitt had 12 points and eight boards to go along with Schifano’s 18 points. Cooke added 11.

Brandon Cato had 14 for the Bulldogs, while Walker had 10 and Michael Cole 9.