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Morgantown seniors leave a legacy of winning with successful state title defense

CHARLESTON — Last season, the Morgantown boys’ basketball team and head coach Dave Tallman captured the 2021-22 Class AAAA state championship without losing a single game to a team from the state of West Virginia.

They did the exact same thing again this year.

On their way to a 26-2 record and repeating as Class AAAA state champions, Tallman and his players once again did not lose a game to an opponent within the state of W.Va. The only two losses came to Breathitt County High School (Ky.) and Dover (Ohio) in the OVAC 5A championship game, when MHS was without star guard Sharron Young.

Despite the losses to the out-of-state opponents, some out-of-state victories were also earned over Hopewell (NC) and Lexington High School in South Carolina that included 5-star prospect Cam Scott.

Tallman says he doesn’t know why it’s he and his team that are blessed to be in the position they’re in, but that they will remember to never take it for granted.

“Our program since we got here has always been based on doing things the right way,” Tallman said after Saturday’s championship victory. “We let our play on the court do the talking and our guys work extremely hard all year. It’s so hard to repeat. We are so humble and do not take anything for granted.”

MHS lost three key players from last year’s state champion team in Alec Poland, Brooks Gage, and Jalen Goins, but a new nucleus players such as Young, Brody Davis, Cam Danser and Izzy Everett returned this year, and the Mohigans didn’t miss a beat.

In fact, when Young went down with a broken hand and missed eight games because of the injury, MHS still managed to go 7-1 in that time with the only loss coming to Dover in an odd 28-20 contest.

Young, who averaged 21 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 4.7 steals before his injury, returned in the regional final game against Buckhannon-Upshur and looked as though he had been playing the entire month he was sidelined.

Then, when it mattered most, he showed up for his team and did his part in securing the repeat as state champions. In Saturday’s state championship, Young was an assist shy of a triple-double, tallying 17 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. He also had five steals and two blocks.

“I was just in the gym every day trying to stay ready, working on my left hand, doing whatever I was able to,” Young said of staying ready despite the limitation he faced. “I just want to thank the man above and my teammates for everything when I was out and coming back also. They always had my back.”

Young also led the entire AAAA field in rebounding for the tournament.

Young had the best season for MHS, but as for the time in Charleston, it was senior Shepard commit Brody Davis that stepped up to the task.

In a venue that typically causes fits for teams offensively, Davis didn’t allow it to affect him one bit.

He led the tournament in scoring average with 19.3 points per game, while shooting 20 for 35 (57%) from the field including 9 for 15 (60%) from three-point range. In Saturday’s championship win, Davis scored a game-high 18 points with four triples.

“Brody stepped up big down here,” Tallman said of his senior. “How about that shot he hit from NBA range? When he shoots it I usually feel like it’s going in.”

“It’s like I told Izzy and Cam when they stepped up to shoot their free throws, you have to believe you’re the best shooter in the state,” Davis said. “Personally, I like the pressure. But when it comes down to moments like that it’s just keeping the right mindset for the situation.”

Along with Davis and Danser, seniors Garrison Kisner, Koma Neal, and Carter Murray will graduate this year and move on from the program.

But not before they left their mark on the history books of MHS boys’ basketball.

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