MORGANTOWN — Defense has been the theme all season for the Morgantown boys’ basketball team, and Jan. 2 was no different as the Mohigans shut down Wheeling Park’s offense en route to a 60-32 victory, at the Rowdy Center.
“We did what we did best,” senior Lamar Haskins said of the win. “We’ve been in a slump shooting. Defense definitely won us the game.”
The MHS defense has held its opponents to 39 points per game on the season, and has consistently been a deciding factor in many matchups.
“Defensively, I have to be happy with that performance,” Mohigans head coach Dave Tallman said. “That’s been kind of the trend this year for our boys.”
Morgantown poured the defensive pressure on quick and early, holding Park to just one bucket in the first eight minutes as they jumped to a 13-2 lead in the first period.
Park rebounded in the second stanza, outscoring the Mohigans, 13-10. Unfortunately for the Patriots, they could not gain enough momentum to cut into the lead substantially and Morgantown still possessed a double-digit lead entering halftime.
The classic Morgantown defense returned front and center in the third quarter, as Park was held to just four points while Morgantown tallied 16 to put the score at a mark of 42-19 heading into the final period.
Morgantown put the foot down on the accelerator in the fourth, dropping 18 points and outscoring the Patriots by five to close the curtains on its fourth home victory of the season.
Haskins commanded the floor for Morgantown, recording a 16 point, 10 rebound double-double in the winning effort. Haskins’ on both ends of the floor was exemplary, and helped lead the tenacious defense and rebounding effort that has come to represent Morgantown this year.
“You’ve got to be strong, just mentally. You’ve got to go into the game knowing that even if the ball doesn’t drop through the rim, you’re going to do what you can control,” Haskins said. “It’s a pride thing, and we all hold each other accountable.”
Following the game, Tallman said that he is happy with his team’s performance so far on the season, and he believes they measure up to previous Mohigan squads.
“This is more of a team than last year. The chemistry is great, the character is great,” Tallman said. “These guys love each other, they’re best friends. The nucleus of this team is good, and the work ethic is great.”
Haskins was joined by Cam Selders, who also tallied 16 points, and Drew Selders, who added nine. The Mohigans will return to action Jan. 5 as they host Parkersburg South at the Rowdy Center. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.