Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Mohigans at full strength as title defense begins at state tournament

MORGANTOWN — The reigning state champs are back at full strength and are ready to defend their title.

The Morgantown boys’ basketball team, 2022 West VIrginia Class AAAA state champions, begin their title defense at the 2023 state tournament Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. against regional opponent Bridgeport. The Mohigans (23-2) are undefeated against in-state competition this season and in the region co-final against Buckhannon-Upshur, welcomed back player of the year candidate Sharron Young from a month-long hand injury.

“I was very happy to see Sharron back on the court for us,” MHS coach Dave Tallman said after defeating the Buccaneers last week. “He’s the best in the state, he’s healthy and cleared to play, he’s been chomping at the bit to get out there, and we’ll need him in Charleston, so it was good for him and us to get him in the flow.”

Young missed the entire month of February, eight games, during which the team went 7-1 with the lone loss coming to Dover (Oh.) in the OVAC championship. Now with Young, the team’s junior point guard, back, the Mohigans are clear-cut favorites to repeat as state champions and are the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

“We’ve now won 42 in a row against West Virginia opponents,” Tallman said. “And this entire group – from our coaching staff to our players, all fine young men – have been just a great group to come to work with every day.  We’re excited for the chance to go back to Charleston, and hopefully, we can play our game, get some breaks, and win three (games) straight.”

MHS opens against No. 8 Bridgeport, regional winners over Wheeling Park. The Indians (18-7) were one of the teams that played MHS the closest this year, overcoming a 13-deficit in the second half to fall just short, 70-66, at the Rowdie Center last month. 

That, however, was without Young, who goes into tournament play averaging 21 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.7 steals in 18 games played. In fact, all five starters for MHS are double-digit scorers. After Young, there are Brody Davis (14), Cam Danser (12), Izzy Everett (10) and Garrison Kisner (10).

With a win in the quarterfinals, Morgantown would advance to play the winner of No. 4 Huntington and No. 5 South Charleston in the semifinals on Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

TWEET @CodyNespor