Agonizing night for Agnew
Injured starter can only watch Mohigans bow
The Dominion Post
CHARLESTON — As Austin Agnew watched his Morgantown High basketball team play South Charleston in the Class AAA state quarterfinals Thursday , every bounce just seemed unlucky to him.
“I was just watching my teammates thinking we usually make those shots, and we just couldn’t catch a break,” he said. “We couldn’t make anything, and I don’t care how good you are, you have to make shots to win a game. They were good shots, they just couldn’t go in.”
The No. 3-seeded Black Eagles mounted a second-half comeback to defeat No. 6 MHS, 48-39, at the Charleston Civic Center. After a solid first half, the Mohigans shot only 20 percent from the field and 10 percent from 3-point range in the second.
MHS ended what could have been a state championship season with a sectional title, a regional title and a 19-7 record.
“It just didn’t work out, it wasn’t our destiny this year,” said Agnew, a former starting forward who suffered a sea- son-ending knee injury 12 games into the season and is still recovering from surgery.
Agnew’s injury was just the beginning of a string of unlucky bounces for the Mohigans, after they knocked off top-ranked Martinsburg in January. MHS senior forward and WVU signee Nathan Adrian went down next, with a broken foot. He missed more than a month of the season, leaving MHS to find two new starting forwards, and the Mohigans lost four games during that adjustment period.
“It was hard for the team and it was hard for me,” Agnew said. “I love playing basketball and I couldn’t fathom sitting out my senior year, but it happened, and you can’t sit around and mope.”
Seniors Dean Marshall and Nicolas Colasante stepped into the leadership role, and Shawn Carden, Scott Core, C.J. King and Steven Solomon saw increased playing time and improvement.
“All those guys stepped up their games and that’s good, because they are going to have to next year,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said.
“It was a great learning experience for the young guys when me and Nathan went out,” Agnew agreed. “Our teammates had to step up, and they did.”
Then, just one game after Adrian returned in the sectional final, backup point guard Solomon broke his foot.
And so, with two missing players and an Adrian who had played six quarters of basketball since January, the Mohigans won when it counted to get to Charleston for the state tournament.
“It felt amazing. I was just happy we were going to states,” Agnew said. “And I thought with Nathan back and people who developed and can play now, we could still win it all. But we just fell short in the tournament.”
The Mohigans’ shooting woes were just too much to overcome Thursday, despite 17 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks from Adrian in the effort.
“They proved that they can compete,” Yester said of his team. “We were able to split with Martinsburg this year — no one else has. We beat Parkersburg South twice, we beat Washington, and we competed well [Thursday] night, and it speaks to what they can do and have done. Everything has to be just right for the tournament and it wasn’t quite right.”
Adrian, Agnew, Marshall, Colasante, Mark Johnson and Daniel Eby ended their careers at MHS. Adrian will play at WVU next season, Agnew has a scholarship offer from Potomac State and Marshall plans to play basketball in college, as well.
During the group’s career, MHS won two sectional titles (2011, ’13) and two North Central Athletic Conference titles (2010, ’11), and made three state tournament appearances (2010, ’11, ’13).
“You can’t beat this group of seniors,” Ye s t e r said. “These six kids have such high quality character. If you don’t win a state championship, it never ends the way you wanted it to, but big picture, these are good kids, good effort, and great highlights for their careers and they did get here — only eight teams do that.”