Late comeback too late for MHS
Patriots hold off Mohigans’ sloppy offense

The Dominion Post
Ooooh, he could see this one coming.
Morgantown boys basketball coach Tom Yester didn’t like his teams’ practice on Monday. And he didn’t like the way they walked — as opposed to ran — onto the court last night when they hosted No. 11 Wheeling Park in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Tournament Semi-finals.
“Kids this age, they should be hoppin’ and boppin’ every time they’re given a chance to go out and play,” he lamented, “but we didn’t have that tonight, not at game time.”
And that lethargy led directly to a 31-14 halftime deficit, and although the Mohigans woke up in the second half well enough to tie the score, they couldn’t quite make it over the hump and finally bowed to the Patriots, 45-40.
In a first half that Yester described as “just the worst,” MHS (14-4) rebounded atrociously and couldn’t keep Park’s athletic wingman Demetrius “Boo” Lathon in check. Lathon, who scored 10 first-quarter points on his way to a game-high 17, pounded the glass, and even hit a three at the buzzer to lead WP (14-5) to a 15-8 advantage. The Patriots then continued to hit from a distance, starting the second quarter with three more triples as then put together a 16-2 run. MHS was sloppy on offense, a step slow defensively, and seemed to lose their poise, as evidenced by three first half technical fouls.
It couldn’t have been much worse.
Not surprisingly, the Mohigans came out too late for the shoot-around before the second half, no doubt enduring an earful from their coach, and it seemed to make a difference, as solid defense and assertive point guard play from junior Nick Colasante allowed them to whittle the Patriots’ lead to single digits at 38-29 by the end of the quarter.
MHS forward Nathan Adrian took control to begin the final period and his pair of free throws and three-pointer sliced the lead to five. After Mark Johnson’s steal, layup, and conversion after the foul, the Mohigans had crept to within a bucket. Finally, after three unsuccessful offensive trips were squandered, Adrian converted a pair of freebies, and MHS’s furious 28-7 second half run brought them all the way back at 40-40 with 2:29 to play.
But that was the last point the Mohigans would score. Lathon hit a tough leaner, Colasante’s short jumper rolled around and out, and Park hit enough free throws down the stretch to ice it.
“Too little, too late,” Yester said. “I was very happy with our effort to come all the way back, but we couldn’t get anybody else involved in the offense down the stretch, and in the end, we just didn’t execute well enough to win. We needed to be more efficient in our halfcourt sets with the game on the line, but Park is a good team, and we knew that coming in. It’s always tough to beat a good team three times in a row.”
When it was suggested that maybe his team might lear n more from this loss than if they’d won, Yester couldn’t have disagreed more.
“I don’t believe that, not for a second,” he said. “You have to learn and improve after every game you play, and we didn’t learn how to get it done at crunch time. That’s something we need, and something we must improve.”
Morgantown faces the loser of the Parkersburg South/Indian Creek (OH) match-up on the road Friday night.
WHEELING PARK (14-5) Emil Popicg 2 2-2 8 Errin Baynes 3 3-9 9 Lee Peluchette 1 0-0 3 Luke Saseen 1 1-2 3 Vondel Bell 1 1-2 3 Boo Lathon 7 1-3 17 Na’Kwaun Phillips 1 0-0 2 Totals 16 8-18 45.
MORGANTOWN (14-4) Mark Johnson 3 1-1 8 Nick Colasante 2 3-5 8 Nick Fleming 1 0-0 2 Nathan Adrian 5 3-4 15 Austin Agnew 2 1-2 5 Christian Allan 1 0-0 2 Totals 14 8-12 40. WPH 15 16 7 7 — 45 MHS 8 6 15 11 — 40
3-point goals: Wheeling Park 5 (Popicg 2, Lathon 2, Peluchette), MHS 4 (Adrian 2, Johnson, Colasante).

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
Morgantown High’s Austin Agnew (43) stretches to get around Wheeling Park’s Demetrius Lathon (33) for a layup Tuesday evening.