Sophomore seals Flying Eagles’ win at Big Atlantic Classic

By Dave Morrison
Sports Editor

Woodrow Wilson’s Juwan Walton wasn’t sure he would be able to play in Friday night’s Big Atlantic Classic matchup with No. 4 Morgantown.

Coach Ron Kidd sure is glad he did.

Walton scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter — including two big baskets after missed free throws — as No. 5 Woodrow Wilson downed the Mohigans 67-64 to advance to today’s Class AAA championship against Logan.

A knee injury, one he isn’t sure how he suffered, left Walton doubting he’d be able to play. He hadn’t practiced all week.

“All I know is I got on the bus after (last Saturday’s) Wyoming East game, and it started to swell,” Walton said. “I kind of wondered myself if I’d be able to play.”

“He’s a walking miracle,” Kidd said. “I give John Beasley all the credit for getting him ready. They iced it all week. He did treatments. He got the word yesterday he was good to go. And we sure are glad he was.”

He was big early in the fourth.

He had five points, including a 3-pointer, to close a 7-0 run to open the fourth and erase a 44-42 deficit.

In fact, he had nine straight points as Woodrow led 53-48 midway through the final quarter.

But he saved the best for last.

Twice he saved the day by stripping a Morgantown player of the ball after missed Flying Eagles free throws and laying them in.

The first came at the 1:36 mark, and that gave Woodrow a 59-55 lead.

With 15.2 seconds left, he did it again, making the score 65-59 and effectively ending the game.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help us win,” Walton said. “They beat us in a scrimmage earlier. They beat us last year. We wanted our revenge in the regular season.”

“They’ve got a good team,” Morgantown coach Tom Yester said. “That quickness, it takes a while to get used to it. I don’t care what anybody says. We had a heck of a time guarding (Philip) Grant at times. And early on I thought (Steven) Thompson hurt us.

“We just had too many turnovers (17). We gave away, I think, 12 easy points in the steal game. You can do that against some teams and recover and get back and defend. For Woodrow, it’s just giving away points.”

Woodrow led by one, 12-11, early in the second half, but an 11-2 run, beginning and ending with 3-pointers by Larry Terry, extended the lead to 23-13.

Morgantown got back in it at the free-throw line (they were 20-of-25 on the night) and trailed 29-25 at the break.

Big Nathan Adrian, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, hit two threes in the third, the second giving Morgantown its biggest lead at 44-40, but Kuron Mitchell scored late in the third to make it 44-42 going into the third.

Walton led the way with 13 points. Grant had 12 and five rebounds, and Thompson had 10.

For Morgantown, Adrian and Taylor Price had 15 each. Evan Berryhill had 11 and Michael Keffer 10.

Woodrow’s bench outscored Morgantown’s 22-13. Woodrow was 21-of-28 at the free-throw line.

“Big win,” Kidd said. “That’s a good team. They were bigger than us, they are physical and they are well-coached. But our kids scrapped and did what they had to do to pull it out. We wanted to make it to that championship.”

And they can thank Walton for that.

“He had a tough week,” Grant said. “He battled some injuries, but we sure needed him tonight, and he came through.”

“They are ahead of us in the ratings, so we needed to pull this one out,” Walton said. “I wasn’t going to miss it if I didn’t have to.”

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Woodrow Wilson 67, Morgantown 64

Morgantown (10-2)

Evan Berryhill 1-4 8-10 11, Michael Keffer 4-4 1-1 10, Nathan Adrian 5-8 2-4 15, Taylor Price 3-12 9-9 15, Sammy Lusk 1-5 0-0 3, Alex Watson 1-2 0-0 2, Carlton Drake 2-5 0-1 4, Ben Blemings 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 19-42 20-25 64.

Woodrow Wilson (13-2)

Kuron Mitchell 3-9 0-1 6, Andrew Johnson 1-2 6-8 8, Steven Thompson 2-8 6-6 10, Cameron Shannon 2-5 4-6 9, Philip Grant 4-9 4-5 12, Juwan Walton 6-9 0-0 13, Larry Terry 3-4 0-0 8, Joseph Anthony 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 21-46 21-28 67.

M 9 16 19 20 — 64

WW 10 19 13 25 — 67

Three-point goals: M: 6 (Berryhill, Keffer, Adrian 3, Lusk; WW: 4 (Shannon, Walton, Terry 2). Fouled out: Keffer, Grant.

Woodrow Wilson’s Andrew Johnson looks to pass as Morgantown’s Carlton Drake defends during their Big Atlantic Classic game Friday night at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
Leann Arthur