MORGANTOWN — The MHS girls’ basketball team pulled even with its city rivals on Jan. 19.
Although UHS battled valiantly the second time around, the Hawks couldn’t pull the regular-season sweep, as MHS downed their hosts, 51-42, on Friday.
The game played rather even throughout, but the Mohigans’ defense eventually got the best of the Hawks’ offensive efforts.
“Defensively I though we gave a pretty good effort, and on the boards,” said MHS head coach Jason White. “Especially in the second half, we did a nice job.”
“Neither team was lighting it up very much, it was a defensive affair,” added Hawks head coach David Price. “Offensively, I felt like we were stagnant, not moving the ball around. We still got shots, though. We really did get shots we should have been making.”
The two teams struggled to strike first blood in the opening possessions, the first points not coming until three minutes in, as MHS junior Sydni Clawges drained a pair of free throws.
The Hawks battled back to take a 10-9 advantage by the end of the first quarter, but the MHS outscored UHS by six in the next eight minutes to take a five point advantage into halftime.
“I thought we had some good looks early that didn’t fall, and I think our kids just kept playing and playing hard,” said Morgantown head coach Jason White.
The Mohigans swung momentum in their favor as the third quarter started, jumping out to a 10-point lead midway through the period. The Hawks battled back and brought the game within five heading into the fourth, but never could get back into the driver’s seat.
“We needed a better quarter,” said Price in reference to the third quarter. “We usually make more passes, and we usually shoot better than that as a team.”
White also seemed dissatisfied with his team’s performance in the quarter, but for different reasons than his UHS counterpart.
“I thought we had an opportunity there to really stretch that thing out. We got it to ten, and I think we did that by playing good on the defensive end and really transitioning well,” said White. “But then we had a letdown, and we talk to this group about continuing to play, playing all four quarters, and we’re struggling to do that.”
White noted that he thought his team became too complacent with the lead, and believes that it speaks on where his team is from a maturity standpoint.
“I think that’s a sign of our immaturity as a team, but we’re still plugging along and trying to get better each time out,” said White. “But we’re continuing to learn to play together. I thought we really for the first time executed offensively very well.”
Even in the UHS loss, the ninth on the season for the team, Price sees lessons his girls can take from their performance.
“I just talked to them about handling adversity and about handling that in a manner where we keep getting better,” said Price. “That’s all we’re trying to do, to be tough.”
However, as the sectional tournament looms for both teams, Price also doesn’t seem worried about the challenge.
“I don’t think our record reflects how good of a team we are or not. And that’s not important; it’s just important come sectionals,” said Price. “I put together a schedule to be prepared, so hopefully we’ll be prepared and ready to go,”
White, on the other hand, is wary of the section’s parity, but believes it will only drive his squad to achieve success.
“You’re going to have to earn your right to play in the sectional championship, but that’s the way it should be. That’s going to make you more ready for those teams that advanced to Charleston,” said White.
MHS moves to 9-3 with the win, while UHS falls to 5-9. The Mohigans will return to action Monday evening as they travel to Buckhannon-Upshur at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks will next take the floor Tuesday, when they visit Wheeling Park for a 7:30 tip-off.