Hays dazes Mohigans
Monarchs win on free throw in OT

Jeremy Hays is no stranger to game-winning plays on a basketball court.
Earlier this season, the junior guard from John Marshall hit a game-winner to end a tripleovertime affair against Wheeling Central.
“That was a long game,” Hays said Thursday, after his free throw was the difference in the Monarchs’ 64-63 overtime win against Morgantown High. “I definitely didn’t want to play in another game like that.
“Everybody always dreams of hitting game-winners, but I don’t know how many people dream of making the game-winning free throw.”
He’ll take it, though.
“Oh yeah, I’ll take it,” he said. “I’m just glad I hit one of them.”
In a wild last minute of a game that featured just about everything except for Gene Hackman’s “Hoosiers” character calling for the picket-fence play, Hays found himself driving to the basket with six seconds left when he was fouled by Morgantown’s Taylor Simmons.
“That’s a tough play, but that’s how it was called,” Morgantown High coach Tom Yester said. “In the Big East, they probably would have laughed at that.”
Hays made the first free throw but missed the second, which set up the Mohigans’ final chance at a win. Tyler Anderson hauled in the rebound and raced up the floor until he found an open Ryan Parsons on the wing for a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
Which wasn’t a bad option, considering Parsons had already sunk eight 3-pointers in the game, including one from beyond halfcourt to end the first half.
“We got the look we wanted,” Yester said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more in that situation. Parsons had the hot hand and we found him. He took a good shot, but it just didn’t fall in for him.”
Parsons finished with a game-high 28 points, while teammate Sam Runner added 14.
The win gives the Monarchs (15-4) the tiebreaker against the Mohigans (12-7) in the upcoming sectional tournament. MHS will be forced to travel to Moundsville to play John Marshall in the first round.
The teams were 56-56 at the end of regulation. The overtime period was a snoozer that quickly turned into the Daytona 500. J.M. point guard Travis Whitfield held the ball for two minutes on the Monarchs’ first possession to try to force MHS into a man-to-man defense.
“We finally said, ‘OK, we’re going to trust our defense,’” Yester said. “It just didn’t work. Their offense was better than our defense on that particular play.”
Once MHS switched, John Marshall’s Casey Defibaugh picked up an and-one 3-point play for a 59-56 lead. Whitfield later hit a lay-up on a backdoor cut before Parsons hit his final 3-pointer of the night.
With 12 seconds remaining, Simmons picked up a steal on an inbounds play and made a lay-up to tie the game at 63, setting up Hays’ play. “It’s a big win for us,” said Hays, who led JM with 15 points. “Once the tempo picked up, so many different situations start running through your mind, but we were able to stay in our offense and stay pretty focused.”
Hays 5 3-4 15, Defibaugh 1 3-3 5, Whitfield 3 1-2 7, Duckworth 1 0-0 2, Eikleberry 5 0-0 10, Montes 4 2-2 13, McClelland 4 2-4 10, Coffield 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 11-15 64. MORGANTOWN (12-7)
Simmons 2 0-0 5, Barnett 0 0-0 0, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Caridi 0 0-0 0, Wilson 1 0-2 2, Parsons 10 0-1 28, Runner 6 2-4 14, Anderson 3 0-0 6, Colombo 2 2-5 6. Totals 25 4-12 63. John Marshall 18 12 11 15 8 — 64 Morgantown 17 12 14 13 7 — 63 3-pointers—John Marshall 5 (Montes 3, Hays 2), Morgantown 9 (Parsons 8, Simmons 1). Rebounds—John Marshall 37 (McClelland 10), Morgantown 29 (Anderson 9). Junior varsity—Morgantown 72 (Colombo 15, Taylor Price 14, Michael Keffer 12), John Marshall 39 (Logan Martn 11).

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post Morgantown’s Taylor Runner puts up a jumper as John Marshall’s Danny McClelland applies pressure.