MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown and University boys’ basketball teams only have one common opponent through the first month of the season — Buckhannon-Upshur.
The Hawks disposed of the Buccaneers in their season-opener by nearly 50 points, 101-52, and the Mohigans took care of business and then some a week later against B-U, 91-40.
Still, through the first nine games of the season, both schools have had a similar ride without much crossover in the schedule. UHS went to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the Beach Ball Classic during winter break, while MHS competed in the Disney KBA Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
Both teams have gone up against high-profile college recruits — the Mohigans (7-2) faced Kennedy Catholic (Pa.) and WVU signee Oscar Tshiebwe, while the Hawks (7-2) went up against Cox Mill (N.C.) and Duke signee Wendell Moore. UHS also faced 4-star Alabama signee Jaylen Forbes, of Florence (Miss.).
MHS and UHS even traveled to Parkersburg on Friday to take on different teams with the Mohigans beating Park South and the Hawks knocking off Parkersburg.
Any difference could be shown tonight when the cross-town rivals collide at the Rowdy Center at MHS.
While results are nearly identical, the identity for each team could not be more different. The No. 2 Hawks boast one of the most lethal guard combinations in West Virginia with Kaden Metheny and KJ McClurg, while the No. 4 Mohigans’ size in the post make them tough to score against.
“They’re a lot bigger than we are,” UHS head coach Joe Schmidle said. “They’re very physical and very good defensively. It’s going to be a match up advantage with their size. But I also think we have two of the best guards in the state, so we’ll see which of those comes out on top.”
MHS head coach Dave Tallman knows that Metheny and McClurg are capable of. Each one has scored over 40 points in a game this season.
“They’re both very good at making shots but they may be even better at getting to the rim,” Tallman said. “They are both all-around great players and are a matchup nightmare for teams around the state, and we’re not excluded from that group. We need to do a great job defensively to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”
While Schmidle and Tallman know every game after the new year is important, there’s no denying that this game means a little more — OVAC, sectional and potentially state tournament seeding is also on the line.
But to the players, some have been teammates or competed against each other for nearly a decade.
“It means a lot to me and the team,” McClurg said. “Before the last couple years, we weren’t labeled as the better team in our town and I never thought was the case. Since I’ve been in high school, we have been very successful against MHS. We as a team want to continue that and be known as the better team in Morgantown.”
Cam Selders, the Mohigans’ leading scorer, knows how important this game is, but won’t treat it any differently than other games.
“I think that it should be a good game,” he said. “They have really good players on their team, but we are just going to treat it like every other game and be well prepared for the matchup.”
The Hawks won six in a row against the Mohigans, dating back to 2017. This will be the first meeting since the state quarterfinals in Charleston last season.
Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.