MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Over the last four years, many showdowns between the Morgantown and University boys’ basketball teams have come down to the last possession.
The first of what will likely be many this season was no different.
UHS’s Mike Maumbe skyed to block a last-second heave by MHS’s Brooks Gage as the final horn sounded Friday at a jam-packed Rowdy Center, sealing a 49-46 win for the Hawks in a seesaw game that was back and forth from the start.
“That was just awesome basketball — it’s two teams that work extremely hard and it’s arguably two of the better teams in the state,” Mohigans coach Dave Tallman said, even in defeat.
It was Tallman’s team that came out hot, jumping out to a 10-point lead at 14-4 in the first quarter, but the Hawks (8-2) were able to close the gap as the second quarter began to wind down, even taking the lead at 20-19. MHS ended up regaining a 23-20 lead heading in the locker room, though, as neither team could get much out of its offense.
It was defense carried the load most of the way.
“We got our hands on a couple of loose balls and tipped some balls, and got a little bit of momentum when we saw the ball go through the basket a couple of times,” UHS coach Joe Schmidle said. “I thought that was big, especially for Kaden (Metheny) to hit a couple of jump shots early in the second half.”
Metheny, the Hawks’ leading scorer, was held scoreless in the first quarter and only had six points at halftime. He started to heat up in the third quarter, and along with K.J. McClurg, the duo helped spring UHS to a 12-2 run to start the second half.
Metheny and McClurg combined to score 38 of UHS’s 49 points, and in the process, Metheny became the school’s all-time leading scorer with a layup in the fourth quarter. He now stands at 1,647 points, breaking Ethan Ridgeway’s mark of 1,644, set in 2018.
“I’ve gotten to be a part of it in two of the last three years, and it’s just a testament of their hard work and the time they’ve put in,” Schmidle said. “Kaden is just a special kid. He’s probably the best player I’ve ever coached and there couldn’t be any body more deserving than he is, just because of how hard he works.”
Despite the outburst from Metheny and McClurg, the Mohigans (6-1) continued to hang around. Trailing by six late, a barrage of 3-pointers from Alec Poland and Alex Rudy gave MHS the lead at 46-45 before McClurg gave the Hawks the lead back with 30 seconds to go.
However, the Mohigans missed the front end of the 1-and-1, which forced them to foul Metheny, who made both free throws on the other end. Two shots were blocked on the Mohigans’ final possession.
MHS, already without junior forward Luke Bechtel, lost Troy Battle when he was poked in the eye at the end of the third quarter. It was also in foul trouble, which forced key players to sit the bench.
“The game was called really tight and we got into major foul trouble,” Tallman said. “We had to sit some guys to get to the half and into the fourth quarter. We were just surviving, but I thought our bench did a great job. I thought Brooks, Poland and (Antonio) Rollo stepped in there and did a nice job for us. We’re at that point right now where we’ve got some injuries that we’ve got to deal with and try to bounce back.”
MHS will host Linsly at 3 p.m. Saturday, while UHS will face Kennedy Catholic on Jan. 11 at the Pittsburgh Winter JAMfest.