MHS boys bounced
17 points and 17 boards for Adrian in loss
The Dominion Post
CHARLESTON — Cold doesn’t adequately describe the shooting of the Morgantown High boys’ basketball team in the second half of the Class AAA state quarterfinals Thursday.
It was downright icy.
During the final 16 minutes, the Mohigans shot 20 percent from the field, 10 percent from 3-point range and 36.4 percent from the foul line, allowing South Charleston to come from behind for a 48-39 victory.
“Thirteen for 36, 4 for 20 from 3 (and) 9 for 17 from the foul line — that’s not quite good enough,” MHS head coach Tom Yester said.
Meanwhile, the Black Eagles got hot. After being down, 26-19, at the break, they converted 47.8 percent of their field-goal attempts and went 1-of-2 from 3.
Despite their shooting woes, the Mohigans were in a one-possession ball game with less than two minutes remaining.
“We had our shots and we couldn’t seem to get anything to fall,” Yester said. “Maybe they were a little bit tired, but it came down to our inability on offense. It certainly wasn’t inability on defense because if we hold that team to 48 points, we certainly have a chance and we did.”
MHS senior forward Nathan Adrian, who poured in 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, netted a layup with 2:34 to play, cutting South Charleston’s lead to 42-39.
MHS needed a defensive stop for a chance to tie the game. Instead, the Black Eagles snared two offensive rebounds, running the clock down to 1:30 before A.D. Cunningham scored on a tip-in, bringing the Black Eagles’ lead back to 44-39. The Mohigans would get no closer.
“Of course, that’s a key point right there, but we still came down and had a three in and out and had an inside play that we missed,” Yester said.
Instead, South Charleston freshman Brandon Knapper added four of his team-leading 16 points in the final minute.
With the win, the Black Eagles advance to face No. 2 Woodrow Wilson in the semifinals at 9 p.m. today.
Both teams turned in a sloppy first half, with 10 turnovers apiece. But the Mohigans, with a height advantage at every position, out-rebounded the Black Eagles, 22-12.
Adrian, in his third game back from a broken foot, grabbed 10 of his rebounds and scored 12 of his points in the first half. Knapper and senior Rashaud Kincade (15 points) kept the Black Eagles hanging around with seven and six points, respectively.
After a back-and-forth first quarter that ended in a 9-8 MHS lead, the Mohigans went on an 11-2 run to begin the second quarter, stretching their lead to 20-10.
Knapper stopped the bleeding with a 3 and the Black Eagles came out of the following timeout in a full-court press. The Mohigans turned the ball over under pressure, resulting in a Knapper layup, cutting the score back to 20-15. South Charleston stayed in its press, but MHS earned layups on its next three possessions and took a 26-19 lead to halftime.
But small, speedy South Charleston kept up the intensity in the second half, tying the rebounding battle at 36. Though the Black Eagles made 16 turnovers, they forced MHS to make 17.
“They are great defens ive ly, ” MHS senior Nicolas Colasante said. “They hindered every kind of set we tried to run. Just playing teams like that, it definitely makes it more difficult. We prepared for it, but our shots weren’t falling as much as we wanted them to and things just didn’t go our way at the end.”
The Black Eagles went on a 10-0 run, including a steal and breakaway layup by Devyn Harris for their first lead since the first quarter, 28-27.
The quarter ended with South Charleston ahead, 36-33.
Colasante added eight points and four assists, and Dean Marshall added six points and four rebounds for MHS.
The loss ends the high school careers of six MHS seniors: Adrian, Marshall, Colasante, Mark Johnson, Daniel Eby, and Austin Agnew, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in January.
“I wouldn’t trade these guys and my group of seniors for any group,” Yester said. “This is just a wonderful group of kids and they’ve worked hard to just to get down here and play this game. The adversity we’ve had — to lose Austin and we lost Nathan for quite some time and our backup point guard (Steven Solomon) is out with a broken foot — it’s just a testament to the character of these young men. They are terrific.”
Johnson 0-6 0-0 0, Colasante 2-6 2-4 8, Marshall 2-8 2-2 6, Adrian 6-20 4-6 17, Carden 1-2 0-0 2, Eby 0-1 0-0 0, Core 1-2 1-5 4, King 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 13-46 9-17 39.
Harris 1-5 0-2 2, Kincade 6-10 0-2 15, Cunningham 4-13 2-3 10, Reese 1-5 3-4 5, Miles 0-2 0-0 0, Knapper 6-10 3-4 16, Clark 0-0 0-0 0, Cosby 0-1 0-0 0, Grier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-47 8-15 48.
Morgantown 9 17 7 6—39
South Charleston 8 11 17 12—48
3-Point Goals—Morgantown 4-20 (Colasante 2-5, Core 1-1, Adrian 1-6, Johnson 0-4, Marshall 0-4), South Charleston 4-13 (Kincade 3-6, Knapper 1-3, Harris 0-1, Cunningham 0-1, Moles 0-1, Cosby 0-1). Fouled Out—Marshall. Rebounds—Morgantown 36 (Adrian 17), South Charleston 36 (Cunningham 11). Assists—Morgantown 8 (Colasante 4), South Charleston 10 (Kincade 4).