Allen right in the thick of Mohigans’ victory
The seldom-used senior tallies 20

The Dominion Post

Morgantown High boys’ basketball coach Tom Yester’s biggest concern prior to playing Withrow (Cincinnati) on Saturday, in the Remember the Miners Mountaineer Showcase, at University High School, was girth.
Sure, the Mohigans have height, but most of those 6-footplus MHS frames don’t have much meat on them. So Yester did the only logical thing he could think of to counter Withrow’s size advantage — he turned to 240-pound MHS all-state defensive lineman Christian Allen.
“It’s just like playing football,” Allen said. “Only a little more under control.”
Allen’s impact was evident throughout as the rarely used senior rattled in a gamehigh 20 points while leading the Mohigans to a 61-48 win.
Allen “got a chance today because of a matchup we saw and we took advantage of it,” Yester said. “He took advantage of the opportunity and that’s great for him. Hopefully, that springboards him into even bigger and better things.”
Allen, who also hauled in seven rebounds, was named Morgantown’s MVP.
“I never saw it coming,” Allen said. “I didn’t even think I’d get into this game. So it’s pretty awesome.”
Allen, who is playing for the MHS basketball team for the first time since his freshman year, has played sparingly this year, often only once games are well in hand. It was in the pregame shoot-around, though, when Allen found out he’d finally be getting a chance to make an impact.
“Coach Yester mentioned that we needed some bulkiness so we could bang around with these kids,” Allen said. “He told me that I’d probably have to go in because I’m a pretty thick guy.
“He’s not scared and we know he can shoot. He doesn’t back off,” Yester added. Withrow “didn’t know anything about him, but we knew he could shoot the ball. He can shoot that way every day.”
Allen particularly shined late as the Mohigans held a slim 48-45 lead midway through the fourth quarter, following a 12-2 Withrow run. A pair of Allen layups on fast breaks quickly put an end to the rally and MHS cruised the rest of the way. Ten of his 20 points came in the final frame.
But, despite how much the MHS student section would lead one to believe — they chanted Allen’s name or “MVP” frequently in the second half — Allen wasn’t the only MHS hero. Co-MVP in the win could easily have been the MHS defense, which was near impenetrable.
“The whole idea was to keep them to the outside. Of course, they had a couple guys that could shoot out there,” Yester said. “But we did a pretty good job of packing it in and rebounding, too.
MHS outrebounded Withrow, 34-28.
This was the third time MHS has played in the Mountaineer Showcase — previously the PrimeTime Shootout — which is meant to spotlight some of the country’s best college prospects. MHS is 3-0 in its showcase games.
“You know you’re going to be the underdog every time you play in this tournament,” Allen said. “But we always seem to come out and play pretty well here.”
Also contributing offensively were MHS juniors Nathan Adrian (15 points, eight rebounds) and Nick Colasante (10 points).
Withrow’s 6-foot-8 junior, Devin Williams, who has received interest from a slew of Division I universities, including WVU, finished with just six points and five rebounds. He was limited by a back injury and played for only about one quarter.
Gooch 4 0-0 12, Beamon 1 0-0 3, Williams 3 0-0 6, Wise 2 0-0 5, Jordan 4 6-8 14, Nichols 0 0-0 0, Robertson 1 1-2 3, Nix 2 1-2 5. Totals 17 10-12 68. MORGANTOWN (10-1)
Johnson 0 0-0 0, Colasante 3 3-6 10, Marshall 2 0-0 6, Adrian 5 4-7 15, Agnew 3 0-1 6, Leftridge 1 0-0 2, Loudin 1 0-4 2, Allen 7 4-4 20. Totals 22 11-22 61.
Withrow 13 9 11 15 — 48
Morgantown 10 16 13 22 — 61
3-point goals: Withrow 6 (Gooch 4, Beamon, Wise). Morgantown 6 (Allen 2, Marshall 2, Colasante, Adrian.

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post
Morgantown High’s Nick Colasante (15) shoots a layup past a Withrow defender. Colasante scored 10 points in the win.