month for Mohigans
Win streak shoots MHS up rankings
BY ERIC HANLON The Dominion Post

The Morgantown High boys’ basketball team knew it was going to be good this season. Every year, the Mohigans expect to be good. And every year, the goal is the same: Win a state championship. That goal has never been accomplished.
The problem?
Saying you want to win a state title and believing you can win a state title are two different things. This season, the Mohigans believe.
This recent bout of confidence stems from one of the more remarkable months any MHS team has played.
From Jan. 11 to Feb. 5, the Mohigans won 10 consecutive games.
The streak, which came against a plethora of powerful opponents, vaulted the Mohigans from being an unranked 1-2 team to being the state’s fifth-ranked team, at 11-3.
“It was a lot of fun,” MHS senior Ryan Parsons said. “Not many people gave us a chance against so many highly favored teams, but we believed in ourselves.”
During the streak — which finally came to an end Saturday, against Greenbrier East — the Mohigans took on the best of what the state of West Virginia had to throw at them. Sparkling wins against No. 6 Martinsburg (11-2), No. 11 Fairmont Senior (11-2), No. 10 Preston (11-2), No. 2 Logan (13-3) and Columbus, Ohio’s Marion-Franklin (11-2) highlighted the Mohigans’ mighty month.
“We’ve played a lot of really good teams in a row, and I think we’ve learned from that,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said. “The kids are stepping up against good competition. We had a little bit of a subpar year last year, so we didn’t start the year out ranked and kind of slid under the radar. The kids have accepted the challenge of playing against teams they aren’t supposed to have a chance against.”
Even more remarkable: Eight of the 10 wins came on the road.
“That’s been a quirk in the schedule, but I try not to think about it,” Yester said. “But because of it, I call these guys, ‘The Road Warriors,’ because of their prowess on the road and the way they toughed out the situation. Now, I think it even motivates them.”
Motivated or not, both Parsons and Yester admitted they didn’t think winning all 10 was possible.
“But that’s what comes with hard work,” Parsons said. “You win games you don’t expect to win.”
Yester pointed to one particular road game during the streak in which he felt his team became believers.
“At Martinsburg,” Yester said. “They were highly rated and we weren’t rated at all. They were heavily favored and had some stats up there showing their home record, something like 80-7, so to beat Martinsburg in Martinsburg, that gave our guys some confidence.”
Parsons pointed to a different time when he realized the Mohigans were contenders.
“I’d say it was after we won the Marion-Franklin game, which was on a Friday, then we went and beat Fairmont Senior the very next day,” he said. “To have the mental toughness to go and beat two very good teams, two days in a row ... that was the point.”
The only fear now is, did the Mohigans peak too quickly? After all, they couldn’t possibly play any better, right?
Yester thinks they can.
“We’re still doing plenty of things wrong, so there’s room for improvement,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement.”
The Mohigans’ top six players have all improved their games in the past month.
“We’ve had a variety of people step up,” Yester said. “Parsons and [Jordan] Barnett had some problems early on, but they’ve stepped up. Sam Runner is scoring over 14 points per game, [Taylor] Price has emerged as a real serious player, [Nathan] Colombo brings consistency and [Evan] Berryhill is up to about a 2:1 ratio of assists to turnovers, which is about what you want from your point guard.”
Credit Yester for constantly giving his team the best possible chance to win. As good as his top six is, the Mohigans play situational basketball, which includes the entire varsity in every game, regardless of the quality of the opponent.
“I think we have a lot of players with specialized skills,” Yester said. “[Luke] Meador, Barnett and Parsons, they’re our snipers. They’re our 3-point shooters. But, if we need to chase, we’ll use [Michael] Keffer and [Carlton] Drake because they have speed and are good open-court defenders.”
According to Parsons, that simple fact — that the Mohigans win as a team and not just with two or three star players — makes them special.
“Our biggest strength is how we play together,” he said. “We play as one, not as individuals. We’re all in this together.”

Morgantown High’s winning streak: 1/11: at N. Marion, 65-51 1/14: at J. Marshall, 64-41 1/16: at Martinsbug, 50-40 1/20: at E. Fairmont, 88-53 1/22: Marion-Franklin, 70-68 1/23: at Fairmont Sr., 60-52 1/27: Buck.-Upshur, 73-29 1/29: at University, 73-35 2/3: at Preston, 61-50 2/5: vs. Logan, 74-59

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post file photo Morgantown High’s Ryan Parsons launches a jump shot over a University High defender.