Barnett, MHS nip Knights

Defense on PHS’s standout keys win

BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post

KINGWOOD — Prior to Wednesday night’s matchup against the Preston High boys’ basketball team, Morgantown head coach Tom Yester let senior Jordan Barnett know he’d be faced with a mammoth challenge: Barnett would be matched up against the area’s top scorer, PHS senior T.J. Thompson (22 points per game), for the entire game.
Barnett was up for the challenge.
“Coach told me before the game that I’d be on T.J.,” Barnett said. “It was exciting.”
Barnett came through and limited Thompson to 12 points, propelling the Mohigans to a 61-50 victory.
“Barnett did a great job stepping in front of T.J.,” Yester said. “If you can hold him to only 12 points, you have a pretty good chance of winning. You’ve got to make it so someone other than T.J. has to beat you.”
Barnett stayed step for step with Thompson, giving the prolific scorer very little room to maneuver.
“I just concentrated on putting a hand in his face and fighting through screens to stay with him,” Barnett said.
But Thompson wasn’t the only PHS player to fall victim to MHS’s stifling defense. Preston shot only 28.8 percent (15-of-52) from the floor.
“T.J. had an off night and didn’t shoot well,” PHS head coach Barry Sanders said. “Then again, nobody shot well.”
The Knights’ 50 points was their lowest total of the season — their previous low was 57, in a win at Morgantown, on opening day.
“We didn’t shoot well and their defense was super,” Sanders said. “They made sure we didn’t get any open shots, just like we made sure they didn’t get any open shots the first game.”
The game featured six lead changes, while neither squad was up by more than eight points before the game’s closing minutes.
At the half, PHS had a 28-27 lead, but hit just five field goals for the remainder. Meanwhile, MHS began picking up steam.
Barnett scored all 11 of his points in the second half. Thompson had just two total points in the third and fourth quarters.
“We won with defense, rebounding and smart shots. Then we got a little lead and held on,” Yester said. “Barnett can run forever, so we just let him play and didn’t take him out the whole fourth quarter.”
The win was the ninth straight for the Mohigans, who went 6-for-6 from the floor in the final period.
Also having a solid game for MHS was senior Sam Runner, who had a doubledouble, with 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Leading Preston was junior Shayne Murray, with 18 points.
The MHS JV team also won, beating Preston, 66-37. Sam Lusk and Alex Watson each scored 15 points and Connor Loudin added 14 in the win.
MORGANTOWN (10-2, 7-1)
Runner 5 4-6 16, Barnett 4 0-2 11, Berryhill 0 1-3 1, Colombo 4 0-2 8, Parsons 5 0-0 12, Price 3 6-6 12, Drake 0 0-0 0, Blemmings 0 0-0 0, Keffer 0 0-0 0, Meador 1 0-0 3. Totals 23 11-19 61.
PRESTON (11-2, 6-2)
T.J. Thompson 4 3-3 12, C. Thompson 3 2-4 10, Goff 3 4-6 10, Wagner 0 0-0 0, Crogan 0 0-0 0, Contic 0 0-0 0, Murray 5 8-9 18. Totals 15 17-22 50. Morgantown 14 13 13 21 — 61 Preston 9 19 11 11 — 50
3-point goals: Morgantown 6 (Barnett 3, Parsons 2, Meador), Preston 3 (C. Thompson 2, T.J. Thompson).

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
Preston High’s T.J. Thompson
looks for a shot against the defense of Morgantown’s Ryan Parsons, in Wednesday’s game.