MORGANTOWN — Morgantown high is the biggest public high school in West Virginia with an enrollment that eclipses 1,800 students. The Mohigans’ girls’ basketball team was the Class AAAA state runner-up last season and is strong again this year, currently ranked No. 5 in the state’s AP Poll.
Why, then, would little Trinity Christian, a AA school whose enrollment doesn’t even reach triple digits, want to put the Mohigans on their schedule?
“Easy answer, why not?” replied Trinity coach Mike Baldy. “There’s no reason not to play them. If we win this game, that’s going to help our seeding at the state tournament astronomically. If we lose this game, it doesn’t hurt our seeding at all. And if we happen to win the game, it’s an all-night party in that Trinity locker room and if we lose, we learn from it and we grow.”
Morgantown (8-3) and Trinity (5-7) matchup up on Thursday with the Mohigans winning 64-34 on Trinity’s Donald Pavelko Court, but the Warriors didn’t just roll over and give it to them.
“They played hard tonight, they really did,” Morgantown coach Doug Goodwin said. “I told the girls to start, ‘if you think we’re going to come in and they’re just going to give us a win, you’re wrong.’ You never want to not come in with energy and be prepared and ready to go.”
The teams played close for several minutes until MHS’s Mia Henkins caught fire from range. MHS took its first double-digit lead when Henkins drilled a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter to go up 19-9. Then Henkins scored 12 of her game-high 16 points with three treys in the second quarter to push the lead to 37-14 at halftime.
“She has those days,” Goodwin said of Henkins. “Mia’s one of those who you see her in practice and she just lights it up. You just always hope it will transfer over to a game and (Thursday) was one of those nights.”
Morgantown had high scorers in each of the first three quarters. In the first it was Lindsay Bechtel with nine, the second was Henkins’s 12 and Revaya Sweeny poured in 10 points in the third.
“I was really happy with our energy from top to bottom (Thursday),” Goodwin said. “In the second half we did not drop off, we maintained our energy.”
Despite facing a sizable deficit to one of the best and biggest teams in the state, Trinity seldom looked flat in the second half.
“Coming out of halftime, what we wanted to do was show our positive team culture,” Baldy said. “We’re not a team that gives up, we’re a team that rim runs and a team that gets loose balls. We wanted to show that and we showed that, inconsistently.”
After being held to just two first-half points, Trinity standout Jenna Barnett scored nine of her team-high 11 after halftime, alongside classmate Sucora Brown, who scored seven of her 10 after the break.
The difference in the game largely came down to experience and depth. All 11 of Morgantown’s players were juniors and seniors while four of Trinity’s nine players were underclassmen. The Mohigans also shot extremely well from range, making 10 triples.
Henkins hit four threes en route to 16 points while Bechtel and Sweeny each hit two and ended with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
“It’s preparing for the speed of the game,” Baldy said of playing a team like Morgantown. “It’s like in baseball or softball, the kids warm up with the donut ring on the bat and then they take the ring off and they feel like they’re swinging 1,000 mph. Morgantown is our donut ring and we hope when we play teams at the double-A, single-A level in our section and region that we can swing 1,000 mph.”
For Morgantown, the game was a chance to add another local game to its schedule aside from the two it will play against rival University.
“It’s always nice to play community games,” Goodwin said. “You want your community to come out and support your hometown teams. The score was a little lopsided but it’s a good community game.”
Goodwin also has a connection with Blady, both as his seventh-grade health teacher at Cheat Lake Middle and as a friend of Baldy’s father.
“Mike and I are friends, I had him at Cheat Lake Middle School when he was growing up,” Goodwin explained. “I’ve taught a few of the Baldy’s and his dad and I played hoops together.”
“Doug and my dad are long-time friends and now Doug and I have grown into friends,” Baldy added. “It’s exciting to get to coach against him. Doug was my teacher and now he’s my friend and we’ll go and hang out after the game (Thursday) and talk about each other’s teams.”
Morgantown will play another local game on Saturday in a highly-anticipated matchup with cross-town rival University. It will be the teams’ first meeting this season, rescheduled from a weather cancellation earlier this season.
Trinity will travel to play at Magnolia next Monday.
Morgantown 64, Trinity 34
MHS 21 16 18 9 — 64
TC 10 4 9 11 — 34
MHS — Wassick 1 0-0 2; Henkins 6 0-0 16; Bechtel 6 0-0 14; Hawkins 2 0-0 5; Jordan 3 0-0 6; Chipps 3 0-0 6; P. Smith 2 0-0 5; Sweeny 4 0-0 10.
TC — Barnett 4 2-4 11; Brown 3 4-6 10; Fisher 4 0-0 8; Wimer 1 0-0 3; Lynch 1 0-0 2.
3 Pt. Goals — Morgantown 10 (Henkins 4, Bechtel 2, Sweeny 2, Hawkins 1, P. Smith 1). Trinity 2 (Barnett 1, Wimer 1).