Drake, Mohigans sink Polar Bears
3-point basket at end of half spurs victory
Building off a buzzerbeating 3-pointer by Carlton Drake to end the first half, No. 3-ranked Morgantown High (19-2) separated itself from Fairmont Senior (13-7) at the start of the second half on its way to a 61-49 victory.
The Mohigans relied on a balanced scoring attack, with three players reaching double figures, including Drake, Taylor Price and Nathan Adrian scoring 14, 12 and 15 points, respectively.
Fairmont Senior’s Marion Hilson led all scorers with 20 points.
Before halftime, the game was close. Morgantown led by six at the end of the first quarter, and maintained a slim advantage on Fairmont Senior for most of the second quarter.
With six seconds remaining in the half, Morgantown led, 29-25, and gained possession of the ball after a Fairmont Senior shot bounced out of bounds. The Mohigans’ Sam Lusk raced the ball down the court and found Drake on the left wing, behind the 3-point arc. He squared up and drained the 3-pointer, with a hand in his face, as the clock expired, to give Morgantown a 32-25 lead.
Instead of going into halftime with a four-point lead, the Mohigans held a more comfortable seven-point cushion. The shot proved to be the pivotal moment of the game, as Morgantown never looked back after Drake’s bucket.
Morgantown coach Tom Yester said, “Drake was the second or third option on that play.”
Drake said, “I haven’t really hit many 3s this year, so it felt good.”
Morgantown has not been a prolific 3-point shooting team all season, and Drake’s was the team’s only 3 of the game.
“That shot was huge,”Price said. “It’s always good to get a buzzer-beater in any game, and once you get the momentum, it’s hard to stop it.”
The Mohigans picked up in the third quarter where they left off, going on an 8-2 run. Adrian scored the first two buckets of the quarter inside, and Price and Drake also contributed.
Yester said the key offensively in the third frame was that, “We got the ball inside to Adrian.”
“We dictated the pace of the game, whereas in the first half we were still testing the waters,” Price added.
Fairmont called a timeout to regroup after Morgantown’s scoring spurt, but Travon Horton got called for a traveling violation out of the timeout. Fairmont scored just two field goals in the quarter, including a 3-pointer by Hilson and a bucket inside by Andrew Marra.
Drake got a steal and went coast to coast for a layup toward the end of the third quarter to make it a 44-33 lead. Drake led the team with four steals on the night.
Morgantown didn’t relent as the fourth quarter started. Fairmont committed several turnovers and never made a dent in the Morgantown lead. The Mohigans stretched their lead to 15 points, when Adrian found Ben Blemings inside for a layup to make it 50-35. As the game hit the final stretch, Morgantown made its free throws to secure the win.
Yester said the standout player of the game was Drake. Aside from his second-quarter buzzer-beater, Yester said Drake had a great night overall.
“Drake was everywhere tonight,” he said.
Price agreed with his coach. “Drake had a phenomenal game.”
He went 6-for-9 from the field, grabbed four rebounds and made four steals.
“His defense was very good,” Yester said. “He held one of their leading scorers, Horton, to just four points.”
Hilson 7 3-4 20, D. Waites 1 2-2 5, Holbert 0 0-0 0, Marra 5 3-4 13, Horton 1 2-2 4, Osbourn 1 0-0 3, J. Waites 0 0-0 0, Besedich 2 0-0 4. Totals 17 10-12 49. MORGANTOWN HIGH
Berryhill 0 6-6 6, Lusk 1 0-0 2, Watson 2 0-0 4, Drake 6 1-2 14, Adrian 6 3-6 15, Blemings 4 0-0 8, Price 6 0-1 12. Totals 25 10-15 61.
Fairmont Senior 9 16 8 16 — 49 Morgantown High 15 17 12 17 — 61 3-point goals: MHS 1 (Drake), FSHS 5 (Hilson 3, D. Waites, Osbourn).