Red-hot Black hits winner for Knights
Sinks 3-pointer and Mohigans on Senior Night
The Dominion Post
KINGWOOD — It took Brandon Black a half to get warmed up. By the end of the Preston boys’ basketball Senior Night contest with sectional rival Morgantown High on Friday night, Black was on fire.
The junior guard swished the game-winning 3-point shot with 4.7 seconds remaining to give Preston a 58-56 victory. MHS’s ensuing desperation heave from half court missed, and Black was swarmed by the Knights’ student section at “The Castle.”
“A great shot by Brandon,” Preston head coach Barry Sanders said. “I’m just so proud of them. I mean, they never quit fighting. Aaron Monroe played a heck of a game, Spencer Lively, heck of a game, Jimmy Galusky just did everything. A great win. Maybe that will help us get a number one seed for sectionals.”
Black netted 11 of his 12 points in the second half, including the last five points of the game. “I just had to get settled in,” he said. “I had jitters coming in playing MHS, so I just had to settle down and play my game.”
MHS (5-7) trailed the entire game, by as many as 12 points, until Scottie Core hit a 3 to put MHS ahead, 54-53, with 1:45 remaining.
“I was real proud of our effort to get back in after being down 10, 11, 12,” said MHS head coach Tom Yester, coaching for the first time since being suspended for three games. “We crawled right back in.”
After an empty possession for Preston (8-5), Black made a steal with 1:10 remaining and drove in for a layup to give Preston a 55-54 lead, with 1:10 to play.
Core, who netted 18 points on the night, responded with a layup for a 56-55 MHS lead, with 35 seconds remaining.
The Mohigans played 30 seconds of stellar defense, and Preston’s broken play turned into a free-for-all.
That is, until forward Lively caught the ball in the high post, was immediately surrounded by Mohigans, and kicked it back out to a wide-open Black on the wing.
His trey was nothing but net.
“I caught it, thought I had an open look, so I took it,” Black said. “I don’t know what was going through my head, just make it. I was in the game, in the moment.”
It was the Knights’ first victory against MHS since 2011. Though he was on the team then, PHS senior Galusky, who was honored at halftime along with classmates Monroe and Marc Vero, considered Friday’s to be his first victory against the Mohigans.
“I mean, I was a little freshman back then,” Galusky said.
He was huge in this one. Galusky, only the second 1,000 point scorer in Knights history, poured in 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, tossed four assists and made four steals.
“This is Morgantown High,” Galusky said. “I mean, you come in here and you want to beat Morgantown High more than anyone on the entire schedule. You gotta beat them. We turned it up.”
The Mohigans pressured Galusky, a lethal 3-point threat on the perimeter, but could not contain him. Galusky beat defenders all night with a quick first step to the hoop, scoring all nine of his baskets on layups and runners. He made his way to the foul line 12 times, where he missed his first two free-throw attempts, then converted nine of his last 10.
“Throughout this year, teams push up on me, get a defender up in my face, so I knew I had to get to the basket,” Galusky said. “I had to work on getting around that guy and getting to the rim.”
The Mohigans struggled on the glass, allowing both Galusky and Lively (seven points, 10 boards) to reach double figures in rebounding. They were also hindered by a slow start, which included three turnovers on the first four possessions and led to a 10-2 Preston lead just three minutes into the contest.
“We have a habit of starting slowly,” Yester said. “Everything counts, and when you are a young team, sometimes you lose sight of those little things.”
The Mohigans settled in and wound up with just 11 turnovers, all but one coming in the first half.
Steven Solomon scored 11 points, Shaun Carden 10 and Zakeem Davis nine, but MHS had trouble at the foul line. The Mohigans made just 6 of 11 free throws.
“We couldn’t guard Jimmy well enough. And the real bugaboo was rebounding,” Yester said. “And free -throws. We only made 6 of 11. We made more field goals than they did. Davis, Carden, Core and Solomon all gave us points. We just needed one more person to give us points and we didn’t get it. It was a good effort, a good ball game. We have to put our shoes back on and play [today].”
Yester previously told The Dominion Post he was suspended Jan. 17, following a meeting with the Monongalia County Board of Education (BOE) and school officials. Yester and school officials declined to say why Yester was suspended.
Following a Jan. 15 game against University High, The Dominion Post witnessed a man and woman entering the stairwell leading to the MHS locker room. The woman told school officials and police her son was pushed and she wanted to press charges.
Yester was escorted out of the building by a police officer. Yester previously said the escort was for precautionary reasons.
MHS assistant Denny Crouso was the acting head coach for the three games.
MHS hosts Martinsburg, at 7:30 p.m. today. Preston next hosts Buckhannon-Upshur, at 7:30 p.m. Monday. The Mohigans and Knights will meet again Wednesday, at MHS’s Rowdy Center.
MHS senior guard Adam Shaw was not in the Mohigans’ lineup Friday.
“He left the team,” Yester said. “He turned in his things the other day. Let’s concentrate on the guys playing.”
S h aw ’s father, Mike, confirmed his son was no longer on the MHS team, but declined to comment further.
Morgano 0 0-0 0, Davis 4 1-1 9, Selby 1 1-2 3, Core 7 0-1 18, Carden 4 2-5 10, King 0 2-2 2, McNally 0 0-0 0, Shipley 0 0-0 0, Melko 1 0-0 3, Solomon 5 0-0 11. Totals 22 6-11 56.
Galusky 9 9-12 27, Lively 3 1-1 7, Black 4 1-3 12, Monroe 3 0-0 6, Ringer 2 0-0 6, Vero 21 11-16 58. Totals 21 11-16 58.
Morgantown 14 8 16 18 — 56 Preston 17 13 16 12 — 58
3-point goals: Morgantown 6 (Core 4, Melko, Solomon). Preston 5 (Black 3, Ringer 2).

Matt Sunday/The Dominion Post
Preston High guard Brandon Black (3) takes the game-winning 3-point shot over Morgantown High’s Scottie Core, in their game Friday evening, at KIngwood.

MHS’s Scottie Core passes into the post during the first half of Friday’s game.