Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Back in Morgantown, Sadaya Jones leads Mohigans to state tournament

MORGANTOWN — Last season when the Morgantown girls basketball team hoisted the 2023 state championship trophy, junior Sadaya Jones wasn’t there to celebrate as a member of the team. After spending her freshman year at MHS, and losing in the state title game to Huntington, Jones played her sophomore season at Fairmont Senior.

This season, she returned home to Morgantown and has been nothing short of a game-changer for the Mohigans. That was never more evident than on Thursday against University in a Region I co-final, when Jones scored a game-high 33 points, grabbed eight rebounds and led her team in a solid defensive effort to help MHS return to the state tournament for a shot at defending its 2023 state championship.

“Honestly, when Lily (Jordan) went out with her injury we all knew we all came together and knew we had to step up in a big way, and I put it on myself to be a leader for this team,” Jones said. “Basketball is a game of runs, we went down and kept fighting and stayed patient as a team.”

Morgantown held an extended lead for most of the contest on Thursday before the Hawks made a surge in the third quarter, doubling their point total from the first half and eventually taking a lead 30-29 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.

Jones answered right back with one of her four triples in the game that sparked a 7-0 run by MHS to end the frame. That run grew to 15-0 between the third and fourth quarters after picking up where they left off at the end of the third and opening the fourth on another run, this time of 8-0.

“Sadaya is always capable of that type of performance for us, she played patient tonight and took some great shots. She was great this evening,” MHS head coach Doug Goodwin said.

Not only did Jones make the difference on offense for Morgantown, but she was also tasked with guarding University’s top scorer, first-team all-stater Ella Simpson, who finished with nine points on the evening.

“She was lock-down on the defensive side for us,” Goodwin said. :I thought she did a good job of moving her feet and not using her hands too much and she got above screens which was crucial in closing out on their shooters.”

“Ella is such a great player and I have all the respect for her,” Jones said. “I knew coming into this game we had to keep her in check to win the game and I feel like the entire team had great defensive effort today.”

One thing that has changed slightly for Sadaya this season is the success of her outside shooting. A self-proclaimed slasher, Jones says she emphasized improving her shooting overall in the offseason and throughout the year. She hit four from long range in Thursday’s contest.

“Everyone knows I like to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim,” she said. “I knew my jump shot was something I needed to improve. Our whole team is always getting extra shots up outside of practice and it showed in this game.”

Jones and the Mohigans will now travel to Charleston with their sights set on defending their state championship from a year ago. MHS will be the 4-seed and face off against No. 5 Greenbrier East in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, March 5 at 11:15 a.m.