Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Top-ranked Morgantown High blows past Wheeling Park to advance to regionals

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Wheeling Park is one of just three teams to hang within single digits of Morgantown this season, and early Friday night it appeared the Patriots might be able to do it again in the sectional final.

But midway through the second quarter the Mohigans (15-1) found a gear the Patriots couldn’t, cruising to the sectional title in what became a 64-29 laugher.

Alec Poland led the Mohigans with 17 points while Xavier Pryor added 14 and Carson Poffenberger chipped in 11.

Morgantown led by only two at the end of the first quarter as Wheeling Park (11-5) successfully executed its plan to slow down the pace.

“We just had to be patient. We knew they were going to spread us [out],” said Morgantown coach Dave Tallman. “We had to wait for them to make mistakes and push it out on them. We executed very well on offense and made them pay when we got the ball.”

Senior Cam Rice provided a nice boost as the Mohigans built a second-quarter cushion, coming off the bench to score all seven of his points.

“Cam has been awesome in practice the last two weeks,” Tallman said. “We’re fresh. We’ve got fresh legs. Cam’s been really, really good and I’m proud of him.”

After extending the lead to a dozen at halftime, the Mohigans put the game away in the third by outscoring the Patriots, 22-7.

In both quarters, Morgantown’s size advantage was a deciding factor as the Mohigans dominated the glass on both ends.

Just three weeks ago, Morgantown edged Wheeling Park 58-52 in the regular-season finale.

This time around, Morgantown’s defense was smothering, allowing only three Patriots to score.

Next up for the Mohigans is the Class AAAA Region I championship against Buckhannon-Upshur on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to win,” Tallman said. “They’ve got a good team and they’re hungry to get to Charleston, but so are we.

“It’s going to be a battle. We’ve got to be ready to go.”

Box score

Avery Lee 7 2-2 18, Brett Phillips 4 1-2 9, Ben Heller 0 2-4 2.

Alec Poland 6 2-2 17, Xavier Pryor 5 3-8 14, Carson Poffenberger 4 3-3 11, Cam Rice 3 1-1 7, Brooks Gage 2 2-2 7, Sha-Ron Young 2 1-3 5, Dom Gabriele 1 1-1 3.
Wheeling Park 10 4 7 8—29
Morgantown 12 14 22 16—64

3-pointers: Wheeling Park 2 (Lee 2), Morgantown 5 (Poland 3, Pryor 1, Gage 1).