Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Defending champ Morgantown High opens season with 111 points, blowout win

MORGANTOWN — If the Morgantown boys’ basketball team has its way, there will be a lot of havoc at the Rowdie Center this season.

Not just on the court where the Mohigans unveiled a new pressure defense on Tuesday but also in the stands with the support of a raucous student section and on the pre-game video on the brand-new scoreboard at the high school.

“It was great,” senior guard Sharron Young said about the entire atmosphere. “The student section was great; the fans were great. We have a new court, basically a new facility. It was great to see everyone back out there.”
Young and the Mohigans used their new havoc-style defense to force over 35 turnovers in a 111-49 route of visiting Greater Latrobe (Pa.).

It’s a defense that head coach Dave Tallman has envisioned using for years but didn’t have the right personnel. This year, with a team heavy with guard play and athletic wings, Tallman decided to turn up the pressure on opponents.

“I was a little nervous,” Tallman said. “This is something we really haven’t done before. (Latrobe) is a good opponent but we just wore them down with our pressure and we got a lot of good players out there – we are 9-10 deep and that’s gonna be hard for people to stay up with.”
Morgantown, the two-time defending Class AAAA state champions, opened its bid for a three-peat with a 3-pointer from J. Shrewsberry and never looked back as MHS built a 17-4 lead with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

The Wildcats didn’t hit their fist field goal until the 5:38 mark of the first quarter and then managed just four field goals in the entire first period.

Tallman said he first saw the defense when his friend, and current Marquette University head coach Shaka Smart, used it at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I have always kind of wanted to do it,” Tallman said. “We actually have the athletes to do it this year. It’s just basically creating havoc on the court.”

The Mohigans dropped in and out of a full court press for the first three quarters of the game, attacked passing lanes and came up with nearly every loose ball to build a 62-39 halftime lead.

Then they turned the pressure up a little more in the third quarter.

MHS (1-0) held the visiting Wildcats to just three points in the third quarter and led 95-42 with one quarter left to play.

“I thought that was good because sometimes when you have a big lead at halftime, you come out and you get a little lax in the second half,” Tallman said. “I was really proud of the effort in the third quarter. I thought we came out like the score was 0-0 and got after them. The first half we kind of wore them down, and I don’t think they had much legs left in the second half.”

Young, who has signed to play for Akron University, led the Hawks with 31 points while sixth-man Marty Johnson added 25, Izzy Everett scored 11 and Brady “Macho Man” Savage added 11. Latrobe was led by Max Butler who finished with 18 points.

“Marty’s a heck of a player,” Tallman said. “He was impressive tonight. Colleges are starting to take notice of him too.”

Morgantown returns to action on Friday when it travels across town to play in the University High School BFS Shootout. The Mohigans are scheduled to play Kentucky school Holy Family at 8:30 p.m.

Box score
Morgantown 111, Greater Latrobe 49
GLB 14 25 3 7—49
MHS 31 31 33 16—111

LATROBE – Prohovic 1 0-0 2, Butler 2 0-0 5, DeCerb 4 0-0 8, Butina 1 0-0 2, J. Williams 2 4-5 8, McNeil 2 2-4 6. Totals: 18 8-11 49.

MORGANTOWN – Frey 3 0-2 8, Everett 3 3-5 11, King 3 0-0 6, Goins 2 0-0 4, Young 9 10-11 31, Shrewsberry 3 12 9, M. Johnson 8 7-8 25, Colistra 1 0-0 2, Savage 4 4-6 11. Hill 2 0-0 4. Totals: 38 25-34 111.

3-Pointers – Latrobe: Butler 2, Davis. Morgantown: Frey 2, Everett 2, Young 3, Shrewsberry 2, M. Johnson 2, Savage.

Story by Eric Herter