Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports, University

Morgantown stifles University in season-opening rivalry win

MORGANTOWN — Two of the top four Class AAAA girls’ basketball teams in the state of West Virginia just so happen to be crosstown rivals and they opened the 2023-24 campaign with a MoHawk matchup on Wednesday night on Bakers Ridge.

No. 1 Morgantown defeated No. 4 University 59-40 behind a strong defensive effort and balanced offensive attack. The Mohigans (1-0) were led in scoring by freshman Kayli Kellogg with 14 points while three others scored in double-figures.

For the Hawks (0-1) senior Ella Simpson scored 13 points while junior Alexa Johnson added eight.

“Good team win for us tonight to open the season,” MHS head coach Doug Goodwin said. “Looking at the stat line we had some good balanced scoring, I think when we move the ball we are very efficient offensively. There were a few defensive breakdowns in the fourth quarter but we will work on that going forward.”

The Mohigans enjoyed scoring from six players who all had six or more points. Paige Smith and Leah Hatcher added eight and six points, respectively, to go along with the four double-digit efforts by Kellogg, Lily Jordan (11), Sadaya Jones (10) and Sofia Wassick (10).

UHS wasn’t out of the game early on, as a 13-8 first-quarter score saw the hosts down just five after the opening eight minutes. Both sides seemed to be a little shaky with it being the opening game of the season.

MHS would be the side to settle into the game at the start of the second quarter leading to a 19-6 scoring difference that swelled the halftime lead to 18 at 32-14.

“I was disappointed in our execution tonight and I thought we were a little selfish at times,” UHS head coach Nick Lusk said. “We had a gameplan coming in defensively but we got a little frustrated and chased and they got some easy buckets and in trying to come back from that, we got a little selfish on offense.”

The Hawks were able to double their second-quarter effort in the third with 12 points, but the Mohigans picked up where they left off going into the break and continued to create offensive opportunities from confusing the opposition on the defensive side. In the first half alone, MHS attempted 10 more shots than that of UHS.

“When we can get into the passing lanes and get deflections with active hands we can create some chaos and score in transition,” Goodwin said. “If we can have the advantage like we did tonight in shot attempts that’s always a plus.”

Some better offense in the fourth cut the deficit slightly for the Hawks but the lead was too large to overcome in one quarter as the Mohigans took the opener.

Both teams will return to action at University High School this weekend in the BFS Shootout.

Morgantown will square off with Kennedy Catholic (Pa.) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and then Albert Gallatin (Pa.) on Saturday at noon. The Hawks will see AG on Friday evening and Kennedy Catholic on Saturday.

Morgantown 59, University 40
MHS 13 19 17 10 – 59
UHS 8 6 12 14 – 40
Morgantown – Kellogg 6 0-0 14, Jordan 5 1-2 11, Jones 2 6-8 10, Wassick 5 0-0 10, Smith 3 0-0 8, Hatcher 3 0-0 6
University – Simpson 5 3-3 13, Johnson 3 2-2 8, Braham 3 0-0 6, Stemple 2 0-0 5, Maisel 1 2-2 4, Fox 1 1-4 3, Weaver 0 1-2 1
3 pt. goals – Morgantown 4 (Kellogg 2, Smith 2). University 1 (Stemple).