Young Mohigans finally ready to get rowdy 1/10/2014
EVERYONE IS INVITED to a welcome-home party of sorts at Morgantown High’s Rowdy Center tonight.
After nearly a month of the season, the Mohigans boys’ basketball team hosts Parkersburg South, at 7:30 p.m., in its first home matchup.
You can bet the Mohigans are ready to celebrate.
They opened in one of the most hostile environments on their schedule — at crosstown rival University (3-3), on Dec. 13.
They scrapped to a 70-62 victory against the Hawks, only to be rewarded with a string of lengthy road trips to Jefferson, Hedgesville, Musselman and Pittsburgh’s Obama Academy.
If the travel wasn’t tough enough, all of those opponents are formidable.
MHS defeated UHS (3-3) and Jefferson (4-3), on its way to its 2-3 record. Among the Mohigans’ losses, only Hedgesville (6-1) has lost a game — to Woodward Academy, out of Georgia. Both Hedgesville and Musselman are ranked in the state’s top 10 teams.
All five teams were undefeated when MHS played them.
“We played some respectable teams,” MHS head coach Tom Ye s t e r said. “Our schedule is difficult, and it’s difficult for a reason. When we get to the end of year, hopefully we won’t get surprised.”
Until then, it’s all about getting experience for Yester’s young squad. MHS graduated six seniors, including WVU freshman Nathan Adrian. Yester regularly plays four sophomores, the most he ever has in his 31 years at MHS.
“The good thing is, now they have some experience,” Ye s t e r said. “The bad thing is, it’s really tough to get them over the hump playing good teams, away, with very little support. Not too many people are going to travel to the eastern panhandle, and we have a lot of games over there this year. We have to rally among ourselves and we’ve got to want to go compete.”
Senior Scottie Core leads the Mohigans in scoring, averaging 12.2 points per game. Sophomore Steven Solomon adds 11.4. After that, Yester said, MHS struggles with consistency.
“Lately, [Thomas] Selby has played very well,” Ye s t e r said. “Then everybody else is a yo-yo game — up and down, up and down.”
The personnel description is a fitting one for MHS on both offense and defense.
The Mohigans made 9 of 16 3-point shots against Musselman. (“That’s excellent,” Ye s t e r said.) Then they responded by going 0-for-10 from 3 against Obama. (“That’s awful.”)
They allowed 87 points to Musselman, then just 49 to Obama (“It’s really odd.”)
“It’s all part of being young,” Yester said. “Young kids don’t realize you can’t always outscore them, you have to out-defend them.”
They will need to do just that against Parkersburg South, which continues MHS’s trend of ranked, undefeated opponents, at 7-0. The Patriots have a high-powered, balanced scoring attack, averaging 76 points.
Still, the Mohigans took the Applemen to overtime, and had a chance to tie the game against Obama, but missed the last 3-point shot.
It means MHS has a shot against the Patriots. And Yester hopes finally having home-court advantage will be enough to propel his team over the hump to finish a tough contes well.
“I’m anxious to see,” he said. “Who’s gonna show up? Hopefully, the home rims will be a little better for us.”

KRISTIN KURELIC is a sports reporter for The Dominion Post. Write to her at  .