Quick exit for MHS

Capital deals punishment with speed

BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post

PARENTS SPRING for students’ bus to watch Mohigans play. Page 3-B.
CHARLESTON — In the ongoing debate about size vs. speed, the latter added another notch to its belt Thursday.
In the opening round of the state Class AAA tournament, the fifth-seeded Morgantown High boys’ basketball team was run off the floor by a lightning-like fourthseeded Capital squad, 54-39.
“They were so quick, they stopped us from doing anything,” MHS senior Sam Runner said.
The speedy Cougars (22-5) forced the Mohigans (19-5) to commit 18 turnovers and four different Capital players finished the game with three or more steals.
“Our defense picked it up and picked their pockets,” Capital head coach Carl Clark said.
Often, those turnovers were converted into points.
“They’re quick and we knew that,” Morgantown coach Tom Yester said. “That speed of theirs led to a lot of points off of turnovers, and that spells doom.”
Capital scored 21 points off turnovers, compared to nine for the Mohigans (15-0 in the first half).
The Cougars committed the majority of their larceny following a score, after the Mohigans inbounded the ball.
“We practiced all week against the press and we knew they were going to trap us with pressure, but we can’t practice having that kind of speed,” Runner said. “You can’t [simulate] how fast they are.”
“We panicked,” fellow senior Jordan Barnett said. “We dribbled with our heads down, we weren’t reversing the ball — we didn’t do much right.”
That included shooting.
The MHS offense never found its rhythm, especially from 3-point range — the Mohigans hit just 2 of 15 shots from behind the arc and went 0-for-9 in the second half.
“That’s why you have to get the ball inside. It’s not a very easy arena to shoot at,” Yester said of the Charleston Civic Center. “Our young guards couldn’t get the ball and I think we would’ve had a little more success if they could’ve.”
Whatever the reason for the poor shooting, the Mohigans were understandably upset.
“I should’ve been able to adjust,” Runner said. “But I just couldn’t get going.”
Oddly enough, the Mohigans were also outmanned physically by the much smaller Cougars. Despite an obvious height advantage, MHS was outrebounded.
“That’s on us,” Yester said. “There was a time when they got three offensive rebounds in a row and we did nothing to stop them.
“Physically, I knew we needed to and tried to stress to them to get in the weight room,” Yester said. “But when you’re not hurting, it doesn’t seem to matter. After we get pushed around like we just did, now it seems important. Hopefully, the young guys will remember that.”
Capital advanced to play top-seeded Logan today.
Morgantown graduates five seniors.
“I’ve come here a number of times with a varying amount of success, and I can’t say anything bad about this group of seniors,” Yester said. “I’m proud of the way they played and I have no regrets.”
Barnett led the Mohigans, with 11 points. Runner had nine points and 10 rebounds.
Lusk 0-0 3-4 3, Barnett 5-11 0-0 11, Parsons 2-9 0-0 4, Runner 3-14 3-6 9, Colombo 0-1 0-0 0, Berryhill 0-0 0-0 0, Meador 1-4 0-3 3, Adrian 0-2 0-0 0, Drake 0-0 0-0 0, Watson 0-1 1-2 1, Keffer 0-1 0-0 0, Blemings 1-1 0-1 2, Price 3-5 0-0 6, Marshall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-49 7-16 39.
CAPITAL (20-4)
Jones 5-9 0-0 12, Burkes 5-8 4-4 16, Hale 3-7 3-5 10, Ferrante 1-8 0-0 2, Gwinn 3-6 0-0 6, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Morris 3-7 0-0 7, Yarbrough 0-0 0-0 0, Burton 0-0 0-0 0, Reed 0-0 0-0 0, Garland 0-0 0-0 0, Smolder 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 20-46 8-11 54.
Morgantown 9 11 13 6—39 Capital 16 13 17 8—54
3-point goals—Morgantown 2-15 (Meador 1-4, Barnett 1-5, Runner 0-1, Adrian 0-1, Watson 0-1, Parsons 0-3), Capital 6-15 (Burkes 2-4, Jones 2-5, Hale 1-2, Morris 1-4). Rebounds—Morgantown 32 (Runner 10), Capital 33 (Gwinn 8). Assists—Morgantown 7 (Runner 2), Capital 11 (Hale, Jones 4).

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post The Morgantown High bench watches (or doesn’t) the final seconds tick off in Thursday’s game.

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
Morgantown’s Nathan Colombo looks for a shot against Capital’s George Burke.