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Morgantown boys host Wheeling Park for section final

MORGANTOWN — The defending champs will take another towards defending their crown Thursday when the Morgantown boys’ basketball team hosts Wheeling Park for the Class AAAA Region I, Section 1 final.

Action will start in the Rowdie Center at 7 p.m. as the Mohigans (21-2) and Patriots (16-7) will face off for the fourth time this year. MHS has won all three matchups against Park this season.

It is a quick turnaround from Tuesday’s section semifinals, but the Mohigans were able to rest many of their starters in the second half as they topped John Marshall 85-44.

“It’s good to have fresh legs going into Thursday, we only have one day off in between games,” MHS Dave Tallman pointed out. “We’ve got a big one here Thursday night so it’s good to have fresh legs and be ready to go.”

Leading MHS on Tuesday was senior Brody Davis, one of many Mohigans on this year’s team looking to repeat last season’s state championship.

“My mindset is that we’re going to refuse to lose,” Davis said. “Nobody in the state is going to beat us, that’s our mindset. We’re going to come out, we’re going to pressure you, we’re going to be the hardest working team and nobody’s going to out-effort us.”

Including Daivs, MHS’s senior class includes Cam Danser, Koma Neal and Garrison Kisner, who transferred in from University over the summer.

“The senior group is a special group,” Tallman said. “I know they want to win five more games. We’re going to work hard every day but we’re going to enjoy each other’s company because it’s a special group. I’m going to cherish these next few weeks with them.”

Aside from being the reigning champs, the Mohigans have also been the unanimous No. 1-ranked team in W.Va. in this season’s AP Polls and have not lost to an in-state team. MHS’s two losses were to Breathitt County (Ky.) and Dover (Oh.).

Three of those wins were over the Patriots, 79-43 at home, 52-48 on the road and 59-45 in the OVAC tournament.

“We know their personnel and they know ours, so there won’t be any secrets,” WP coach Mike Jebbia told the Wheeling Intelligencer after defeating Brooke 92-60 on Tuesday. “We’ve played them three times and played them tough the last two.”

The Patriots have been one of the hostess teams in the state to end the season. The No. 8-ranked Patriots have won fives games in a row, led by sophomore dynamo Aiden Davis, who scored 24 points in their semifinal against the Bruins and broke two school records in the process.

The Mohigans are close to getting their own standout point guard back as junior Sharron Young is nearing a return from a hand injury that has held him out of action for multiple weeks.

“Having Sharron come back is just going to make our team go to the next level once again,” Davis said. “The way he pushes the ball and passes without even looking at you is something special.”

The winner of Thursday’s game will host a regional co-final next week while the loser will have to go on the road. The Section 2 championship will be played between Bridgeport and Buckhannon-Upshur, who upset University in overtime on Tuesday.

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