Mohigan Journal - The 2002-03 Season in Review (Part 2 of 3)
By Johnny Mo Higan

When we ended Part 1, the Mohigans had struggled through the CAC Holiday Tournament. With the new year, the Mohigans begin their climb upward. Here is a review of January's events.

"Morgantown tops stubborn Elkins, 63-58," Dominion Post, 1/5/03 -- The Morgantown High boys' basketball team jumped to a 22-3 lead, then held off pesky Elkins for a 63-58 NCAC victory Saturday. "Seth is becoming more consistent for us," Yester said. "He's becoming that nice 12-to-15-points-a-game type of player." ... Geremy Rodamer contributed six assists for MHS.

"Mohigans Not Rated in Poll," Dominion Post, 1/7/03 -- The 3-2 Morgantown Mohigan boys team is not rated in the latest AP poll. MHS is scheduled to play four of the top five teams through the rest of the season and have number ten rated North Marion coming to the MAC on Thursday evening.

[Keep on reading, it gets even better!]

"Defense keys MHS victory," Dominion Post, 1/10/03 -- Morgantown High turned up the defense and needed to the way it shot free throws Thursday night, defeating No. 10 North Marion, 54-44. ... The victory, accomplished despite an 11-for-25 night from the free throw line, signified a big step forward for the Mohigans, according to coach Tom Yester. "The team took on a little different attitude tonight," said Yester of his 4-2 Mohigans. "They were a rated team. We'd had a couple of close games that we gave away. We needed to hang on to this one and did." [High scorer: Benson, 12 pts]

"Benson zeroes in on his 3's; Wilson leads Cee-Bee rally," Dominion Post, 1/11/03 --
Tyler Benson hit eight 3-pointers in the second half Friday and scored 30 points to lead the Morgantown High boys basketball team to a 72-62 victory over Brooke. ... The Mohigans (5-2) were down, 32-25, at halftime, but outscored Brooke 32-11 in the third quarter. ... "We couldn't hit anything in the first half," MHS coach Tom Yester said. "Tyler got hot in the third and credit our guys for recognizing that and getting him the ball." [High scorer: Benson, 30 pts]

Mohigan Journal, 1/13/03 -- It was great week for Mohigan Basketball as we defeated the number ten and twelve teams in the state. North Marion, which won the summer
league this past summer, looked to be the best team in the area at the beginning of the season. I believe they will contend for the NCAC championship by the end of the season and win between 15 and 20 games.

Remember the Mohigan Journal's "The Pieces are Here" from December? "We should be 4-0 right now but instead we are 2-2 and have learned some valuable lessons that could pay big dividends later in the season. We have outplayed every opponent so far until we get to the last 2 minutes. For some reason the players are committing uncharacteristic mental errors." What happened to THAT team? It was replaced by the 2003 version of the Mohigans. And they continue to improve with every game. Let's continue with more excerpts from January articles.

High School Athletes of the Week, Dominion Post, 1/14/03 -- Morgantown's Tyler Benson averaged 21 points a game last week in victories over state-ranked North Marion and Brooke. Against Brooke, Benson hit eight 3-pointers in the second half and scored 30 points.

"Mohigans mash John Marshall, University snaps losing streak at 8," Dominion Post, 1/17/03 -- Kameron Law led three players in double figures with 15 points and added seven rebounds Saturday to lead the Morgantown High boys' basketball team to a 69-53 victory over John Marshall. ... The Mohigans (6-2) got off to their customary hot start, taking a 22-9 lead after the first quarter, and held a 42-24 halftime lead. John Marshall cut the deficit to seven points at one point in the second half before MHS put the Monarchs (2-7) away.

Mohigan Journal, 1/20/03 -- The game was a joyous occasion for many as it marked the return of Dan Dalton to the lineup. He had been suffering from injuries received during a car accident in November. "Having Dan back will allow us to rest Geremy more and play him at some other positions," said Coach Hoffman. "We can be very quick when we have Dan, Geremy, Chad and Seth in at the same time. Coach Yester wants to experiment with this lineup as the season goes."

Mohigans rated 10th in Metro Poll -- 1/22/03

"Law seals verdict for MHS - Big man's huge 2nd half buries No. 3 FSHS, 61-42," Dominion Post, 1/25/03 -- Law exploded in the second half, scoring all of his 15 points to lead Morgantown past No. 3 Fairmont Senior, 61-42, Thursday, in an NCAC boys' game. "It took a while to get me started and I got frustrated with myself," Law said. "Coach told me to slow down and I was able to take advantage of some mismatches." ... Morgantown jumped to a 15-11 lead thanks to consistent shooting from [Tyler] Benson, [Seth] Fogarty and Ben Torsney. Benson fired in five points while Fogarty and Torsney added four apiece. ... "Our key is defense and I think it was pretty darn good tonight," Yester said. "Offense will come and go, but you have to recognize players on the other team and how they can hurt you. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it did tonight." [High scorers: Law, Benson 15 pts each]

"Mohigans pull away from B-U, Eight straight wins now for Morgantown," Dominion Post, 1/27/03 - "To go up there and win and pull away at the end was good for us," said Yester, whose team has not lost since the first game of a holiday tournament, last month. ... "It got down to a three-point game in second half. We did pretty well from that point on. We regained some composure, spread the floor out and made them work." ... Seth Fogarty led the Mohigans with 18 points, converting 12 of 14 free throws. Kameron Law finished with four rebounds and six blocked shots to go along with 12 points. Tyler Benson scored 14.
Despite grad losses, MHS staying on top, University visits tonight in city showdown," Dominion Post, 1/30/03 -- Don't look now, but the Morgantown High boys' basketball team is at it again. Last season, the Mohigans were expected to finish near .500, but instead went 22-4 and advanced to the state's Final Four. Although four senior starters graduated from that team, the Mohigans are stilling rolling, posting a 9-2 record and leading the North Central Athletic Conference with a 6-1 mark. ... The Mohigans are also ranked No. 10 in the state as they prepare to host tonight's 7 p.m. game with crosstown rival University High.

"MHS smothers UHS - On tough night for both teams, Mohigans better," Dominion Post, 1/31/03 -- A basketball game turned into a hockey match with sneakers on, but no matter what, the Mohigans proved to be the No. 1 team in town. ... "I thought our defense stepped up tonight," Yester said. "Offensively, we were cold tonight in the first half, and I think that's becoming a trademark with this team. We didn't do well at all on offense tonight." ... Still, MHS was able to use a cast of characters to build a 20-point lead in the third quarter and finished off the Hawks with not one player scoring in double digits, but with 11 different players scoring. ... "Right now, we're still a work in progress," Yester said. "We've got to continue to try and get better and work hard. We're not exactly where we want to be as a team right now, but we're getting pretty close." [High scorer: Rodamer, 9 pts]

"The big picture develops: MHS becomes a team," Dominion Post, 1/31/03 -- "Right now, we're 12 individuals wearing the same color jersey," Yester said before leaving the MHS gym that day. [after CAC tournament in December] "We're not a team." ... Fast-forward to late January. ... MHS's players are still wearing the same color jerseys, and Yester has no trouble admitting that, yes, these guys have become a team. And a pretty good team at that. ... The Mohigans breezed past city rival University High, 57-28, Thursday night, to claim their ninth straight victory and push their overall record to 10-2.

Perhaps Geremy Rodamer said it best, when he told the Dominion Post about the new and improved varsity squad: "We just had to really develop as a team before we could start playing as a team."

Tomorrow, we'll have the third installment of the season in review. The Mohigans continue their unbeaten streak for several games, and despite struggling in mid-February, MHS clinches the MCAC title. The Mohigans get one more wake up call at the end of the month, which galvanizes the team to an exciting, nail-biting contest with Parkersburg South.