Mohigans hold off Hedgesville
By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Morgantown hasn’t put coach Tom Yester through too many nailbiters this season.

Going into their Big Atlantic Classic game Friday against Class AAA No. 3 Hedgesville, most of the No. 7 Mohigans’ 10 wins were by a comfortable margin. Their tightest game was a 48-47 loss Jan. 27 to crosstown foe University.

So Yester understandably liked how his team sank 7 of 10 foul shots in the last 2:20 to hold back the Eagles, 47-44.

“I was just happy we got them,” he said. “We don’t win too many at the foul line, so it was good to hang in there and get that many foul shots.”

The game was a defensive struggle. Hedgesville neutralized Morgantown’s fast break, and the Mohigans returned the favor by forcing the Eagles’ half-court offense to work even harder for a good shot.

Game stats were pretty even. Both teams shot around 41 percent from the floor; Morgantown held a 28-25 edge in rebounding; both squads committed 10 turnovers, and neither set the world on fire in 3-point shooting (Hedgesville was 3 of 13, Morgantown 2 of 11).

The foul line was the difference: Morgantown sank 15 of 27 free throws while Hedgesville took just 10 and made five.

“We didn’t shoot that great a percentage, but it was enough to hang on,” Yester said.

Early on, Hedgesville (14-2) looked on its way to a blowout win. The Eagles scored three lay-ups and got two of their 3-pointers, by smooth-shooting guards C.J. Burks and Q.J. Peterson, to lead 12-3 six minutes into the game.

The quarter ended at 16-5 in the Eastern Panhandle team’s favor.

“Defensively, we took them out of everything they wanted to do,” Eagles coach Kelly Church said. “Then Q.J. got into foul trouble and that hurt us.”

Morgantown (11-3) roared back, getting strong play from guard Dean Marshall and forward Nathan Adrian to outscore Hedgesville 15-3 in the second period and lead 20-19 at the half.

“When Nathan calmed down, I thought he played a pretty good game,” Yester said of the 6-foot-9 WVU recruit.

The second half was a chess match, low-scoring but tightly contested. But with 6:25 left to play, Morgantown got a foul shot from Christian Allen, followed by consecutive baskets from Mark Johnson, Adrian and Austin Agnew, to lead 37-32.

Two crucial steals, from Adrian and backup guard Johnson, and the solid foul shooting kept the Eagles at bay down the stretch.

“We don’t seem to be a fast-starting team, which I don’t like, but I’d rather be able to finish than to start,” Yester said.

Adrian led the Mohigans with 14 points. Agnew had nine points and nine rebounds, while guard Nick Colesante had eight points and Johnson seven.

Peterson led Hedgesville with 15 points and seven rebounds. Chris Shields scored 11 points and blocked four shots, and Burks added nine points.

“We’ve won lots of games and we’re used to being in a lead,” Church said. “We’ve got to do a better job, when it comes down to a one- and two-possession game, of finding ways to get stops or finish on the offensive end. We missed a number of free throws and lay-ups.”

Morgantown will play Woodrow Wilson at 9 p.m. today in one of two AAA championship games. Hedgesville will face No. 1 Martinsburg, a panhandle rival, in a 12:20 p.m. consolation match.

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Morgantown 47, Hedgesville 44

Hedgesville (14-2)

Chris Shields 4-9 3-4 11, C.J. Burks 4-10 0-0 9, Q.J. Peterson 6-13 1-21 15, Juwan Powell 3-7 0-0 6, Phillip Largent 1-4 0-2 2, Shawn Fisher 0-0 1-2 1, Casey Horn 0-0 0-0 0, Rahsaan Shanton 0-1 0-0 0, Aaron Snider 0-0 0-0 0, Aaron Sutton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-44 5-10 44.

Morgantown (11-3)

Nick Colesante 1-4 5-8 8, Dean Marshall 2-5 2-3 6, Nathan Adrian 6-15 2-4 14, Austin Agnew 2-5 5-7 9, Christian Allen 1-2 1-3 3, Mark Johnson 3-5 0-2 7, Nick Fleming 0-0 0-0 0, Conner Loudin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 15-37 15-27 47.

H    16    3    9    16    —    44

M    5    15    10    17    —    47

Three-point goals — H: 3-13 (Burks 1-4, Peterson 2-6, Powell 0-2, Shanton 0-1); M: 2-11 (Colesante 1-3, Marshall 0-1, Adrian 0-4, Allen 0-1, Johnson 1-2). Fouled out — none.