Keffer, Triplett key title hopes
Mohigans and Warriors need their top games

The Dominion Post
To win a state championship, more than just the top two or three scorers on a team have to play well. To win, everyone must do his part.
That’s why today, when Class AAA No. 2 Morgantown (22-3) and Class A No. 1 Trinity (23-2) get things under way in their respective games, the head coaches will be looking for a few other players to step up.
For the Mohigans (22-3), head coach Tom Yester is looking to senior Michael Keffer to have a breakout performance. Trinity head coach Herman Pierson is banking on the continued posteason success of sophomore Cody Triplett.
Neither player’s stats jump off the page.
Typically, MHS is led by senior Taylor Price and sophomore Nathan Adrian, who have combined to score 27 points per game this season. Keffer averages only 7.5 ppg.
And while Yester knows Price and Adrian need to continue scoring, he acknowledges that Keffer must have a big tournament if MHS expects to win its first-ever state title.
“His stats don’t match his abilities. But when he needs to, he scores,” Yester said. “Keffer has a crucial role this week and I think he’s up to it. For us to do well, he’ll probably have to score double figures for the whole tournament.”
Yester also stressed that with his athleticism and ability to take the ball to the rim, Keffer will play a crucial role in setting up Price and Adrian.
“If he takes the ball to basket, he’s such a good passer the ball usually ends up in Price’s or Adri- an’s hands,” Yester said. “He doesn’t shoot many 3s, but he’s a good pull-up jump shooter. He just ends up making a lot of passes.”
Keffer’s defensive play may be even more important, considering the playing style of MHS’s first-round opponent, Logan (15-11).
“They run, gun and shoot the 3, and defensively they use man-to-man, trap and a halfcourt zone,” Yester said. “We have to be well prepared on a lot of fronts with them. Logan has two of the better players in the state in (6-foot-2 senior Deyonta) Coleman and (6-foot-3 senior Herbert) Williamson.” Ex-WVU Mountaineer and 2010 high school Player of the Year “Noah Cottrill may be gone but the other guards are a year older and a year better. They’re definitely a threat.
“It should be really good to watch,” Yester added. “Keffer is a good defender, and Coleman and Williamson, they play them a lot at forward spots and in effect have four guards on the floor at a time.”
Keffer’s athleticism also makes him valuable as the Mohigans attempt to combat full-court pressure. The teams on their side of the bracket — Logan, South Charleston (20-6) and George Washington (21-4) — all enjoy using it.
Triplett averages 10.8 ppg as the Warriors’ fourth-leading scorer.
But in the postseason, Triplett has come alive. Against Pendleton County, in regionals, he tied a careerhigh with 25 points.
“We need Triplett to keep playing well. He’s stepped up five or six times with big games this year,” Pierson said. “In big games, you need someone like him to have no fear and to not be afraid to shoot the ball.”
What makes Triplett such an asset is his ability to shoot from the perimeter. In the regional win against Pendleton County, he was 7-for-7 from 3-point range. Pair that with the fact that he is the Warriors’ tallest player, and Pierson has himself a weapon.
“Cody is a tough matchup for a lot of guys,” Pierson said. “He’s 6-foot-6, has those long albatross arms that make him even taller. He’s going to get his opportunities at the tournament.”
Triplett is also a strong rebounder (6.8 per game). But Pierson pointed out that if Triplett has one area where he can improve, it would be inside. Pierson’s hope is that Triplett finds that part of his game in Charleston.
Triplet has played better in the post during the playoffs. Pierson attributes this to playing him with the Warriors’ other two bigs — 6-5 senior Chris Martinez and 6-4 senior Ben Jordan.
In regionals, the three helped Trinity outrebound Pendleton County, 38-17.
“With Ben Jordan, Chris Martinez and Cody Triplett out there together, it’s pretty hard to match up against us, and that showed against Pendleton County,” Pierson said. “We’ll probably do a little more of that now, even though we didn’t do much of it during the season.”
Trinity’s first-round opponent, Meadow Bridge, may be the only other team in the tournament that can match the Warriors’ size, boasting four starters ranging from 6-3 to 6-8.

Ron Rittenhouse/The Dominion Post file photo Bob Gay/The Dominion Post file photo
Morgantown High’s Michael Keffer and Trinity’s Cody Triplett (above) will be crucial to their teams’ efforts at the state basketball tournament, starting today.