MHS boys chill Bears
The Dominion Post
On an unseasonably warm evening, a red-hot Morgantown boys’ basketball team proved to be more than the Polar Bears of Fairmont Senior could handle Thursday, as the third-ranked Mohigans pushed their record to 17-2 with a 63-45 victory against their visiting NCAC neighbors. The game didn’t go according to the Mohigans’ usual script, though. Senior standout Michael Keffer spent most of the game on the bench with foul trouble and Fairmont, which showed up in Morgantown without 6-foot-6 junior Alex Murray, packed the paint against Mohigans senior Taylor Price, holding him to four points in the first half. Add an uncharacteristic rash of Mohigans turnovers to the mix and Morgantown appeared to be in for a fight to the buzzer.
That was not the case, however. Sophomore Nathan Adrian, who has battled illness and cold shooting of late, heated up against the Polar Bears, leading all scorers with 18 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
“I just decided to take the ball to the rim more. Usually I shoot a little more, but today I wanted to get to the rim more and it worked,” Adrian said.
Mohigans coach Tom Yester agreed. “Adrian really picked up the slack tonight. He had himself a nice ballgame. A complete game.”
The first quarter saw Morgantown commit seven turnovers as Fairmont put together a 9-0 scoring run to erase an early MHS lead built on buckets by Adrian and Keffer.
Morgantown climbed back with a Keffer steal and layup followed by an Adrian stickback and an old-fashioned 3-point play from Sam Lusk. After a Polar Bears jumper, Adrian tipped in his fifth and sixth points and Alex Watson knocked down one of two free throws to give Morgantown a 14-13 lead after the opening frame.
The fast pace and physical nature of the game began to show in the form of personal fouls in the second quarter. Three Morgantown starters — Keffer, Price and Carlton Drake — would each be forced to the bench after picking up a second foul.
Despite the constant shuffle of players, the Mohigans opened a little breathing room thanks in large part to inspired play from their bench. Lusk knocked down a jumper, and Ben Blemings stepped in for Price and made his presence felt in the paint, scoring on a pair of post moves and battling on the glass. Add a Watson jumper and a pair of scores from Adrian late in the quarter and the Mohigans held all the momentum and the lead, 30-23, heading into the half.
According to Yester, the Mohigans don’t have subs, just extra starters waiting for minutes.
“The good thing is, this team picks you up,” he explained. “Watson was nice off the bench. Lusk, Blemings and the two youngsters came in tonight, [Dean] Marshall and [Nick] Colasante, and did their job and didn’t give anything up. That’s just this team. We don’t necessarily think we have a starting five, we’ve got a starting eight. We play who we need when we need them, and these guys are really good about it.”
The second half was all Morgantown from the opening whistle. An Evan Berryhill 3-pointer, six more points from Adrian and five from Price — who got things rolling to end up with 15 points — knocked Fairmont out of contention. Morgantown outscored the Polar Bears, 17-10, in the quarter for a 47-33 lead.
The Polar Bears (12-5) got six points in the fourth quarter from sophomore Travon Horton, who led them with 14 points in the game.
The Mohigans close out the regular season with a bit of a playoff tune-up next week, traveling to East Fairmont, on Tuesday, and Fairmont Senior, on Thursday.
On Feb. 26, top-ranked Wheeling Park visits Morgantown High.
Marra 1 2-2 4, Hilson 3 4-6 10, Horton 6 2-4 14, Washington 0 1-3 1, Besedich 1 2-2 4, Osbourn 0 2-2 2, D. Waites 0 2-2 2, J. Waites 3 0-0 8. Totals 12 15-21 45.
Berryhill 1 0-1 3, Lusk 3 3-3 9, Watson 1 2-3 4, Keffer 3 0-0 6, Marshall 0 2-2 2, Drake 1 0-0 2, Adrian 7 4-4 18, Blemings 2 0-0 4, Price 5 5-7 15. Totals 23 16-20 63.
Morgantown High 14 16 17 16 — 63 Fairmont Senior 13 10 10 12 — 45
3-point goals: MHS 1 (Berryhill), Fairmont 2 (J. Waites 2).

Jason DeProspero/ The Dominion Post

Morgantown High’s Carlton Drake
(front) scoops the ball under while going in for a layup against Fairmont Senior’s Travon Horton, in Thursday’s game.