Wait until next year: MHS falls short again
Mohigans still searching for trip to state title game

BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post
CHARLESTON — It’s been 52 years since the Morgantown High School boys’ basketball team has made the state championship game, and this year was possibly its best chance of getting back.
Unfortunately, MHS will have to wait yet another year. The Mohigans (22-4) fell to the state’s top-ranked team and No. 1 seed in the tournament, South Charleston (24-1), by a stunning score of 61-38 on Friday afternoon, at the Charleston Civic Center.
What was so stunning about the score is not that the Mohigans were beaten but rather how they were beaten. The Mohigans had been averaging around 70 points per game and had not been held under 50 all season long.
“First of all, South Charleston is a lot better than most teams,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said. “But we’re men and we’ll take it like men.”
Throughout the course of the game, the Mohigans’ team that was on the floor looked nothing like the one that was so dominant all year long.
To start, MHS turned the ball over 27 times, a big contrast from its season average of 11 and its minuscule eight against Robert C.Byrd in the tournament’s first round.
“We just made a lot of mistakes,” Yester said. “South Charleston is so quick and has very soft hands. They had two guys with five steals and another with four, so what’s that tell you?”
To answer Yester’s question, that tells one what may be the main reason the Mohigans lost. South Charleston scored 24 points off turnovers and won by 23.
Then again, playing from behind was no help to Morgantown, which began the game trailing 10-2.
“I thought we came out too slowly,” Yester said. “What a contrast from the game last night [against RCB]. After that, we had to swim up hill the rest of the game.”
MHS senior Ben Hewitt agreed with his coach’s analysis.
“We got off too slowly and then couldn’t do much from behind,” Hewitt said. “Then we made a lot of bad passes, unfortunately.”
Hewitt, however, was the lone bright spot for the Mohigans as he returned from a head injury suffered in the first-round game. He led the Mohigans with a game-high 25 points while pulling down seven rebounds.
“Honestly, I would rather have a bad game and come away with a win than a good game and a loss,” Hewitt said.
Aside from Hewitt, there was not much offensive production from the rest of the Mohigans. Even more discouraging was that they connected from 3-point range just once, just a day after they hit nine against RCB.
“We couldn’t seem to get a break and just had a rough game,” Yester said. “We play an inside-outside game, and our inside game was there. Unfortunately, our outside game was awful. Yesterday, we were 9-of-19. Today, we were 1-of-11. That’s a big contrast.”
After trailing 10-2 and just barely getting out of the gate, the Mohigans would slowly come back. Yet every time they would get close the Black Eagles would pull away.
In fact, the Mohigans slowly chipped away at the lead in the third quarter and entered the fourth trailing only by nine. But again they would falter and when the Black Eagles pulled away this time it was for good.
In the fourth quarter, the Mohigans were outscored 18-4.
“After watching them play the other day we were a little worried,” South Charleston head coach Robert Dawson said. “We knew they were well-coached and had extremely smart players, so we were a little surprised it wasn’t a harder game than it was. Nothing against them. They’re a great team. Our kids just did a great job, especially with the lead.”