Colombo sparks MHS surge past N. Marion
Runner tallies 23 to lead Mohigans
BY TODD MURRAY The Dominion Post

Morgantown High boys’ basketball coach Tom Yester doesn’t expect Nathan Colombo to morph into a smaller version of Sam Runner when he comes off the bench for the Mohigans.
“He’s supposed to clog it up in the middle, get the baskets on the offensive end around the rim and get fouled,” Yester said.
Colombo did all that and more Monday. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior scored nine points in a 19-0 first-half run, as MHS put away North Central Athletic Conference rival North Marion, 63-39, at the MHS gymnasium.
Colombo finished with 11 points and eight rebounds to help the Mohigans (15-3, 11-1 NCAC) notch their fourth straight victory and maintain their hold on first place in the NCAC.
“He got on the boards and got after it and played with a little bit of urgency,” Yester said.
Colombo scored in double figures for the second straight game. He registered a team-best 13 points in Saturday’s 81-54 victory, against NCAC foe Elkins.
“These last couple games I’ve played pretty well,” Colombo said. “These have been my highlight games of the year by far.”
Colombo took an aggressive stance as soon as he stepped onto the floor to replace starter Taylor Price early in the first quarter. He took the ball to the basket with authority, either scoring or drawing fouls.
He scored five of his nine first-half points at the foul line and finished with a 5-of-6 performance at the stripe.
“It’s something I’ve been working on,” Colombo said of his aggressive play. “I kind of got in a groove. Once it comes to you, you continue to do it, and it works and becomes a part of your routine.”
Runner, who contributed a game-high 23 points and added five rebounds, appreciates the critical spark Colombo provides in a reserve role.
“He’s really been stepping it up lately,” Runner said. “Last game, he was able to step up and was our leading scorer. He’s a big body, and he can bang around. Whenever we’re struggling out there, he can come in and give us a boost sometimes. He can hit the boards and be tough and go up strong, and he definitely did that tonight.”
Colombo is in his first full season on the varsity, after splitting his time between the junior varsity and the varsity a year ago. He has also played for the Mohigans’ football team as a tight endwideout.
His favorite sport?
It all depends.
“I’m a two-sport guy,” Colombo said. “I can’t lean either way, more or less. In football season, I’m a football guy. In basketball season, I’m a basketball guy. I just take it as it comes.”
The Mohigans shot 54.3 percent from the field (25-of-46), but Yester was less than pleased with his team’s execution. MHS went through stretches of strong play, followed by stints where the team’s play turned sloppy.
MHS allowed North Marion to come within 15 points of the lead in the fourth quarter, after leading by 21 at one juncture in the third stanza.
“I think we’ve been watching WVU,” Yester said with a smile. “I never felt like we were going to lose the game, but I was not happy with the execution quite a few times. Our shooting percentage was pretty good, but we had too many turnovers and too many missed assignments on defense.”
The Mohigans return to action today, at Buckhannon-Upshur, before hosting Fairmont Senior in the regular-season finale, on Thursday.
Shuck 2 3-4 7, Hamrick 3 1-2 9, Cochran 1 2-5 4, McCoy 4 1-2 9, T. Thorne 2 3-4 7, Hixenbaugh 0 0-0 0, Myers 0 1-2 1, L. Thorne 0 0-0 0, Sypult 0 2-2 2, Miller 0 0-0 0, Harbert 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 13-21 39.
Lusk 1 0-2 3, Barnett 3 0-0 8, Parsons 3 0-0 8, Runner 8 7-8 23, Price 2 0-0 4, Blemings 1 0-0 2, Colombo 3 5-6 11, Keffer 1 0-0 2, Meador 0 0-0 0, Loudin 0 0-0 0, Drake 0 0-0 0, Adrian 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 12-16 63.
North Marion 7 10 13 9 — 39 Morgantown 13 18 16 16 — 63
3-point goals: NMHS 2 (Hamrick 2), MHS 5 (Barnett 2, Parsons 2, Lusk).

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post Morgantown High’s Taylor Price dribbles around North Marion’s Tyler Thorne.