‘Quick as a cat’ Eagles concern Yester

Mohigans face S. Charleston in boys’ tourney
The Dominion Post
WHAT: Morgantown vs. South Charleston, state Class AAA quarterfinals. WHERE: Charleston Civic Center. WHEN: 7:15 p.m. today. TICKETS: 7:30-11:30 a.m. today, at the MHS office. $8 for adults and $6 for students. RADIO: WAJR-1440 AM and WFGM 93.1-FM.
Morgantown High head coach Tom Yester didn’t waste any time.
The Class AAA state tournament brackets were released March 7, announcing his boys’ basketball team would face South Charleston — which boasts a 23-2 record with losses only to No. 2-ranked Woodrow Wilson and Kentucky’s Madison Central – in today’s 7:15 p.m. quarterfinal.
So it was no wonder that when he received the news, Yester was in Charleston, after scouting the Black Eagles.
“They are just quick as a cat and very athletic,” Yester said. “They are quick at every position. They were down a little because they had a kid out, Cunningham, and he’s a good player.”
Seniors Hunter Moles (10.3 points per game) and Rashaud Kincade (9 ppg) carried the load while A.D. Cunningham, a 6-foot sophomore averaging 13.6 ppg, missed the 58-50 regional victory against Greenbrier East with a knee injury. He is expected to return today.
“They are quite a team,” Yester said. “They are a heavy pressure team. We’re going to have to deal with the pressure, so we’re trying to get everybody ready for that. You turn your back and somebody’s coming _ and somebody fast is coming.”
Yester said the focus will be on solid ball-handling — a task that primarily falls to senior point guard Nicolas Colasante (7 ppg).
Luckily for the Mohigans, Colasante traveled with the last MHS team to advance to state and play in the Charleston Civic Center, in 2011, and he knows all about the composure required there.
“It’s a different atmosphere, it’s a lot bigger. From the opposite end from our bench, we won’t be able to hear our coaches,” he said. The Eagles “will be fast and a lot more skilled than most teams we have played, but we tried to make our schedule as hard as we could to prepare for it.”
The No. 6 Mohigans split a series with top-seeded Martinsburg this season, and earned two victories against No. 5 Parkersburg South and one against No. 4 Washington. They lost, 62-31, to No. 2 Woodrow Wilson shortly after losing starting forwards Nathan Adrian (foot) and Austin Agnew (knee) to injury.
Now that Adrian (19.9 points, 13.5 rebounds per game) has returned and the Mohgians (19-6) are on a four-game win streak, Colasante thinks they can compete with anyone in the field.
“I have a lot of confidence in our team because I feel like we play up to the opportunity,” he said. “It all depends on how we practice. The good thing is, our coaches have been whipping us in practice and keeping us focused, and that’s been helping us and it will give us an edge on teams we are going to play down here.”
This is the ninth time since 2002 the Mohigans have competed in the state quarterfinals. They posted a 6-2 record in the other eight but are are 0-6 in the semifinals during that time. A win against the Black Eagles would set up a rematch with Woodrow Wilson in the semifinals, at 9 p.m. Friday.
“It’s a big test and that’s what the state tournament is all about,” Yester said. “You have to go in and be well-prepared and well-conditioned to give yourself a chance in this scenario. We certainly have a good opportunity and that’s the way we like to look at it.”