Mohigans hold off valiant Knights 12-11-2012

For The Dominion Post

KINGWOOD — All eyes may have been on Morgantown senior signee Nathan Adrian on Tuesday, but Preston senior Tyler Groves stole the spotlight early, stuffing Adrian twice and electrifying a packed gymnasium, including a rowdy Preston Knights student section.
But despite a grueling effort, the Knights (1-1) fell short, losing to the Mohigans (1-0), 55-40.
Asked what Bob Huggins, who will be his coach next year at WVU, would say about his game, Adrian said he would be disappointed.
“He probably wouldn’t have liked it too much,” said Adrian, who scored 15 points in the win. “He would tell me to be stronger with it. I just got to play better than that.”
The game plan for PHS head coach Barry Sanders was clear — surround Adrian with defenders in the post — but then the Knights were unable to stop Mohigans senior point guard Nick Colasante, who finished one rebound from a double-double (15 points and nine rebounds).
“He made big shots when he needed it,” Mohigans head coach Tom Yester said. “I think the key was Colasante’s leadership.”
With his team up, 32-29, in the third quarter, it appeared Sanders’ Knights were going to at least play all four quarters tough and perhaps pull off the win, but that wasn’t the case.
“We’ve got to value the pass,” Sanders said. “You’ve got to rotate the basketball, and when we were up, 32-29, we quit rotating the basketball.”
Adrian admitted after the game that the Knights’ match-up zone gave the team a lot of problems, but, “Colasante runs the show.”
Tthe Mohigans were perfect from the free-throw line, sinking all 15 shots.
It was a physical road game for MHS, filled with some hostile moments, as when the home crowd roared after every Adrian charge or foul.
Yester was fine with that.
“That’s a great occurrence,” he said. “It’s a difficult place to come play. We played two scrimmages against two teams before that run up and down the floor and then we come here and play slowdown ball — that’s a pretty good transition for us.”
Jimmy Galusky (14) and Tyler Groves (11) combined for more than half of the Knights’ points.
For 2 1/2 quarters, the game was a back-and-forth battle. But Adrian’s NBArange 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter and then muscular basket and free throw to start the fourth allowed the Mohigans to take a double-digit lead (43-32), and they never looked back. “I was just trying to calm down,” Adrian said. “Really, I wasn’t playing good so I tried to get my team more involved. And like coach said, Nick (Colasante) played great and picked us up. He was a big part of the game.” MHS heads to the Pittsburgh Showcase on Saturday to play Central Catholic, at Aliquippa High School. PHS has a quick turnaround, playing at East Fairmont on Thursday.
MORGANTOWN (1-0) Adrian 4 6-6 15, Marshall 3 1-1 7, Colasante 5 2-2 14, Agnew 4 4-4 12, Johnson 1 2-2 5, Selby 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 15-15 55. PRESTON (1-1) Galusky 4 4-4 14, Adams 1 0-0 3, Koch 3 1-1 7, Groves 3 5-8 11, Scott 0 2-2 2, Black 1 0-0 3. Totals 12 12-15 40. Morgantown 13 12 16 14 — 55 Preston High 12 9 11 8 — 40 3-point goals: MHS 4 (Colasante 2, Johnson 1, Adrian 1), PHS Galusky 2, Adams 1, Black 1).

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
Preston’s Brandon Black (3) and Mitchell Koch scramble for the ball with Morgantown High’s Nathan Adrian, in Thursday’s game.