Eventually, MHS exacts revenge
Slick surface twice delays 2 rivals’ game
The Dominion Post
Players and fans were falling all evening at University High at the boys’ basketball crosstown rivalry game. The mixture of snow and salt in the parking lot was tracked into the packed gymnasium, creating a slick film on the hardwood that resulted in two lengthy game delays to clean up.
Meanwhile, the Hawks’ shots were not going down, and UHS fell, 62-41, on its Senior Night to No. 8-ranked Morgantown High.
Playing without starting forwards Nathan Adrian (broken foot) and Austin Agnew (torn ACL and meniscus), the Mohigans reaped revenge from a 76-71 double-overtime loss to UHS in January.
“It was a great feeling because we were down a few men, but this is the first time we’ve come together as a team and it really felt good,” MHS point guard Nicolas Colasante said. “Everything was clicking and we all just played with confidence.”
The Hawks roared to a 9-3 lead behind three 3-pointers by Travis Tomer, who netted 17 points on the night. But MHS, which traditionally relies on its man-to-man defense, opted to try a 3-2 zone, and it paid off. The UHS shooters went cold and MHS went on an 11-0 run.
“I thought coach (Tom) Yester had a great game plan. He zoned us and we were not very patient and didn’t make the adjustments we needed to that,” UHS head coach Paul Ingle said. “They made shots tonight, and we didn’t.”
From there, Colasante took over, penetrating the paint and collecting 12 of his game-leading 21 points in the first half. He led the Mohigans (14-4) to a 17-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter and a 29-19 lead after the first half. “After the last couple games, I haven’t been shooting very well, so I got in the gym and I guess it’s been helping,” he said. “I shot 1,000 shots or over. I don’t know, I couldn’t keep count after awhile.”
During halftime, UHS officials set to work cleaning the baseline under the basket near the gym’s main entrance, which was to belong to the Mohigans in the second half. Students danced and players scuffed around testing the surface during a half-hour delay after the usual break.
“We were quite upset about that. We thought they were using tactics from the Super Bowl,” Colasante joked, referencing the power outage at Super Bowl XLVII right before the San Francisco 49ers almost pulled off a comeback against the Baltimore Ravens.
“It was really slippery,” he continued seriously. “To be honest, I’m glad they stopped it because someone probably would have gotten hurt.”
After the referees determined conditions were safe to resume play, the players got two minutes added to the clock to warm up again, and then the Mohigans resumed routing the Hawks.
They opened the second half with an 8-0 run and put together a 19-9 third quarter. When MHS guard Dean Marshall slipped under the basket after making a bucket with 1:13 to play in the third quarter, another halfhour clean-up ensued.
It still didn’t distract the Mohigans.
“Our coaches did a great job of telling us to keep our heads in the game and telling us not to let our minds wander because that’s when things start slipping, so all the credit goes out to them on that one,” Colasante said.
The Hawks (12-6) brought out an intense, full-court press in the fourth quarter, but the Mohigans got the ball behind the defense and under the basket to forward C.J. King. He posted five points in the quarter.
“I’m very proud of the way we handled the pressure,” Yester said. “They came up and pressured full court and I thought we kept our composure, got the ball where it was supposed to be and we actually got some layups out of it.
“You’ve gotta give (Mark) Johnson and Nick and (Scott) Core and (Daniel) Eby credit, they pitched in, and King was very stable tonight, very stable. Happy for him and proud of him.”
King added eight rebounds, and Marshall grabbed nine boards and dished three assists with his eight points. MHS was 10-of-15 from 3-point range (67 percent) and 19-of-37 from the floor (51 percent).
“Composure, a little grit, played like our back was against the wall and that’s the way you gotta play this game,” Yester said. “We wanted to win the last one and came up a little short, and these guys were determined to go play.”
UHS honored the careers of eight seniors: Tomer, Deion Cunningham, Curl Dixon, Adam Meadows, Jon Lewis, Tim Kocher, Isaiah Shade and Dakota Bodkin.
“They’ve been with me for four years in our program and despite tonight, we’ve had a very successful season and our team goals are still within our grasp because of those seniors,” Ingle said. “I’m sorry tonight didn’t go better for them, but they will be back.”
MHS and UHS face off again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, in an OVAC tournament matchup at MHS.
Marshall 3 2-3 8, Colasante 5 8-9 21, Eby 2 0-0 6, Johnson 3 0-0 9, King 3 2-6 8, Carden 0 0-1 0, Core 2 2-2 8, Turner 0 0-0 0, Shaw 1 0-0 2, Dale 0 0-0 0, Hall 0 0-0 0, Goldsmith 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 14-21 62.
Tomer 5 3-4 17, C. Dixon 1 3-4 6, Cunningham 1 1-2 3, Meadows 1 0-0 2, Lewis 0 0-2 0, Bodkin 0 0-2 0, T. Dixon 1 0-0 3, Leftridge 1 0-0 2, Shade 0 0-1 0, Gutmann 0 0-1 0, Kocher 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 0 0-0 0. Totals 13 9-17 41.
Morgantown 17 11 19 14 — 62
University 11 19 9 13 — 41
3-point goals: Morgantown 10 (Colasante 3, Johnson 3, Eby 2, Core 2), University 6 (Tomer 4, C. Dixon, T. Dixon).

Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post photos
Morgantown High’s Nicolas Colasante (15, above) drives the lane through the University defense for a layup in Friday’s game. UHS’s Curl Dixon (5, left) tries to put up a shot over the Mohigans’ C.J. King.