Mohigans stall a step from state
Polar Bears foil the final play to win
The Dominion Post
FAIRMONT — The No. 3-ranked Mohigans will not get to attend the big dance.
Instead, Fairmont Senior stormed the court at the final buzzer Tuesday to receive the Class AAA Region 1 trophy and a berth in the state tournament in Charleston, as a dismayed MHS squad formed its final huddle on the hardwood this season.
The game was a back-and-forth battle that ended in a heartbreaker for the Mohigans, 54-51.
It was a hard pill for MHS head boys’ coach Tom Yester to swallow.
“I hope this stings,” he said. “ ’Cause it sure does for me.”
With 50 seconds left on the clock, junior Nick Colasante hit a shot to cut Fairmont Senior’s lead to 52-51. The Mohigans fouled DeVante’ Waites, who missed a one-and-one. Junior Nathan Adrian tore down the rebound and crossed halfcourt, where Yester called a timeout.
The stage was set, the play was working ... and then it didn’t.
Colasante received the ball near his bench and dribbled to near midcourt. Adrian was looking for the ball in the key, but instead Colasante attempted a pass across court to junior Dean Marshall, who finished the game with 10 points.
Fairmont Senior’s Van Jones deflected the pass on a near-steal. Marshall recovered the ball, only to be trapped between the sideline and the halfcourt line by Jones. He tried to throw the ball off Jones’ foot and out of bounds, but Jones stole the ball, drove down the court and laid in the game-clinching basket.
“Last play, we had what we wanted,” Yester said. “We had Nathan in the paint, couldn’t get it to him, reverse the ball, make a bad play, the game’s over. That’s what happens. Gotta execute when it counts.”
But the Mohigans (18-7) know that one play isn’t the whole story of a game, and execution was the story of more than that play.
“It happens,” junior Mark Johnson said of the play. “They play good defense and it bounced off one of our guys’ feet and [Jones] took it for a layup. We just didn’t execute on the [plays] we needed to execute.
Adrian (18 points) echoed his teammate. “Our effort was good, but we just didn’t execute at the right times. They just out-hustled us. They out-rebounded the ball by a lot, so we needed to play a little bit harder.”
The Mohigans got off to a quick start, jumping on top, 21-11, in the first quarter, but FSHS roared back with a 13-0 run to a 24-21 lead. The teams traded baskets from there, with Fairmont Senior nursing a 33-32 lead at halftime. After the break, both teams slowed, but MHS slowed more and found itself working to eat away at a four-point deficit going into the fourth quarter, before that fateful end.
“Effort was pretty good, defense was decent,” Yester said. “We got out-hustled to a lot of balls though. Second rebounds in the first half. We still didn’t get the complementary points out of a couple guys. We still gotta get complementary points for Nathan’s. Nathan gets his and he got ‘em.”
Johnson (seven points) said he felt the Mohigans deserved to go to the state tournament, but insisted the Polar Bears “do too. They deserve it too. But somebody has to lose and somebody has to win. That’s the bad thing about sports, but it happens.”
The Mohigans hope to use this game as motivation for next year. “We gotta learn,” Yester said. “We gotta be a little stronger. So the weight room is open.”
Johnson agreed that improving strength will be key. “We need to play on the ball more and be more quick and be more strong, getting rebounds. They out-rebounded us way too much. We need to work on that a lot.”
With the loss, four seniors — Connor Loudin, Nick Fleming, Nick Fullmer and Christian Allen — ended their MHS careers. Loudin netted four points.
“I love my seniors,” Adrian said. “I wish we coulda won it for ’em.”
Yester also praised the group. “Our seniors are great kids. They played their role and did what they were supposed to do, and I wish them well.”
Fairmont Senior (21-4) advanced to the state tournament in Charleston, which begins March 14.
Colasante 3 0-0 6, Leftridge 0 0-0 0, Marshall 3 2-2 8, Adrian 7 3-3 18, Agnew 3 0-0 6, Johnson 3 0-0 7, Loudin 2 0-0 4. Totals 21 5-5 51.
Hilson 3 1-2 7, Horton 7 2-5 16, V. Jones 5 0-0 13, Washington 4 2-3 10, Waites 2 0-1 5, Cook 0 0-0 0, L. Jones 1 0-0 3, Norman 0 0-0 0. Totals 22 5-11 54. Morgantown 21 11 8 11 — 51
Fairmont Senior 14 19 11 10 — 54
3-point goals: MHS 4 (Marshall 2, Adrian, Johnson), FSHS 5 (V. Jones 3, Waites, L. Jones).

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post
Morgantown High’s Austin Agnew contemplates the end of the Mohigans’ season Tuesday.