Carden, Mohigans start season anew
Senior nets 19 points, a career best
The Dominion Post
The way Shaun Carden looks at it, his Morgantown High boys’ basketball team is 1-0 on the season.
“We ’ve been on a losing streak, but tonight was the night to come back,” Carden said. “This is the start of the season for us.”
After opening their season with two wins, the Mohigans lost five straight and desperately needed a turn-around.
They got it Wednesday night. Carden scored the game-winning layup with 3.2 seconds remaining, then snagged a steal to seal a 50-48 crosstown rivalry victory against University, at MHS’s Rowdy Center.
Carden, who had been averaging 6.4 points per game, wasn’t just clutch when it counted.
The senior forward poured in a career-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, fueling the Mohigans (3-5) all night.
“Shaun played pretty well all d ay, ” MHS head coach Tom Yester said. “He played well, he was under control, he finished, he got the ball in the right spots.”
Carden combined with Elvin McNally and C.J. King to power the Mohigans inside. The trio combined for 29 points and 18 rebounds.
It helped MHS overcome a cold shooting night; they were 0-for-11 from 3-point range.
Instead, the Mohigans capitalized on their size advantage, earning most of their points on drives to the basket and putbacks in the paint.
“Neither team shot the ball well from the outside and I think that was the key,” Yester said. “When we got it inside, [Shaun] and C.J. did a pretty good job of finishing some baskets. Our size bothered them a little bit.”
The smaller, quicker Hawks (4-4) pushed the pace, but could not get many looks of their own inside and were forced to keep shooting 3s most of the evening. MHS cleaned up the glass on the misses.
The Mohigans out-rebounded UHS, 37-17. It was the second time this season that MHS earned a rivalry win largely thanks to efforts on the boards. The first was a 70-62 victory at UHS, on Dec. 13.
“Really, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by our ability to rebound the ball, but that was not so tonight,” UHS head coach Paul Ingle said. “To be honest, something about the mix and match with MHS, we did not rebound well against them at our place either. They do have the size. It’s not for lack of effort. But you can’t stand next to a guy and just jump for a ball and not get into him and be physical and box. That’s something that we will have to work on.”
The Hawks took a quick 5-0 lead, but MHS came roaring back with a 17-6 run to end the first quarter, behind 13 points from Carden.
The teams traded baskets until halftime, when MHS held a 27-24 lead.
UHS senior guard Tevin Dixon, who scored 13 points on the night, heated up to start the second half, draining two quick 3s.
But MHS got a boost from King to end the third quarter and start the fourth. He netted all six of his points, grabbed a steal and dished an assist in a four-minute span.
King was playing his first significant minutes of the season, due to a lingering ankle injury during football season. King played two minutes against Musselman, on Dec. 28.
“Obviously, he wore down quickly tonight, but he’s going to for awhile,” Yester said. “He gave us a little help inside. He had a few rebounds and a few points and that was good for us. That one little stretch he got a lot.”
Jeff Leftridge carried the Hawks with six points in the fourth quarter, until a 3 by UHS senior Colin Mitchell tied the game at 48, with 56 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, MHS stalled in an attempt to take the last shot. However , Dixon and Leftridge’s intense defensive pressure in the backcourt led to a steal for Dixon, and the Hawks were off to the races.
Dixon, who has 22 3s on the season, missed a trey with 10 seconds remaining. The Mohigans grabbed the long rebound and tore down the court.
“It’s easy to second-guess afterward to say I wish we had held the ball and taken the last shot,” Ingle said. “But hey, Tev had a chance, as open as he could be tonight and had a good look at it. Hindsight is 20-20.”
Carden netted the game-winning layup on the fastbreak at the 3.2-second mark.
“We moved the ball real good, we got me wide open,” Carden said. “They covered the 3 — we are a good 3-point shooting team — so we attacked them in the middle this time.”
The Hawks had the last chance to go the length of the court and score, but Carden picked off their pass at half court to seal the win.
Dixon 4 2-2 13, Leftridge 2 2-4 6, Gutmann 5 1-2 11, Mitchell 3 0-0 8, Warner 3 0-0 6, Martin 0 0-0 0, Eckels 1 0-0 2, Turner 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 5-8 48.
Solomon 3 0-0 6, Morgano 1 0-0 2, Core 4 0-0 8, McNally 2 0-0 4, Carden 9 1-3 19, Melko 0 0-0 0, Selby 1 1-1 3, King 3 0-2 6, Davis 1 0-0 2, Vac 0 0-0 0, Shaw 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 2-6 50.
University 13 11 12 12 — 48 Morgantown 17 10 12 11 — 50
3-point goals: Morgantown 0. University 5 (Dixon 3, Mitchell 2).

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
UHS’s Jeremy Eckels (bottom) tries to keep control of the ball in a collision with MHS’s Carlton King.

Bob Gay/The Dominion Post
Morgantown’s Steven Solomon (center) battles for a loose ball with University’s Jeffrey Leftridge (left) and Grant Gutmann.