Mohigans survive
Morgantown avoids upset

BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post

FAIRMONT — Judging by the way the last game between the Morgantown High boys’ basketball team and John Marshall went, Tuesday’s Region I championship game should have been a breeze.
The last time, MHS won by 20 points and easily put away the Monarchs. This time was a little different, and if not for a late comeback, the Mohigans season would be over.
In the end, the Mohigans won the game, 56-44, and will now advance to the state championship tournament.
Winning this game was no easy task, as the Mohigans trailed for the majority of the game and for at least some part of every quarter.
In fact, the Mohigans trailed by as many as seven points in the game and were down 29-24 at the half.
This, of course, was a blessing for the Mohigans, as they could have been trailing by much more with the way things were going.
The Mohigans (21-3) were only 9-of-27 from the floor in the first half, while the Monarchs (16-9) were a much better 13-of-26. Not to mention they were outrebounded in the first three quarters, 27-19.
“They knew all of our plays from the first game,” MHS senior Jay Fletcher said. “This team is the reason we had to change the numbers of all our plays.”
For a team that averages more than 70 points per game, it was obvious things weren’t clicking for the Mohigans.
It seemed that no matter how well the Mohigans played, the Monarchs always had an answer. Suddenly, the frustrated Mohigans looked like they were in trouble for maybe the first time all year, and began taking frequent looks at the clock.
Fortunately for MHS, the Monarchs became careless with the ball late in the third quarter and started throwing it away.
“We shot 30 percent and they shot 50 percent in the first half, and you don’t win too many games playing like that,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said. “John Marshall really came ready to play and we’re lucky things flip flopped in the second half.”
Just as Yester said, things certainly did flip flop in the second half and the hot-shooting Monarchs went cold while connecting on only 5-of-21 (23 percent) shots.
The Mohigans benefited from some great bench play and went 12-of-21 (57
percent) for the remainder of the game.
Senior Taylor Dunn came off the bench to score 12 points for MHS while junior Tyler Anderson also came off the bench recording eight points, and nine rebounds.
“At the half we all pulled together and started shooting better in the second half,” Anderson said. “We stayed confident, we showed we have depth, and we played as a team.”
The Mohigans began to chip away at the Monarchs’ lead, and then put it all together in the fourth quarter. The Mohigans outscored the Monarchs, 20-8, in the final period highlighted by a 16-2 run stretching from the very end of the third to the fourth quarter. With the win, the Mohigans have now won 19-of-20 games and seven in a row.
Yester credited his entire team with the victory and for the team’s overall success this entire season. “We played an excellent fourth and it was a total team effort,” Yester said. “It’s not who is on the floor, it’s how we play as a team. It’s not so much how ‘me’ score, it’s how much ‘we’ score.” After the narrow victory, Yester was very excited, as expected, about his team’s next step. “I’m just tickled,” Yester said. “This is a good bunch of kids that has worked hard all year long, and they deserve to go to states.”