FAIRMONT — Morgantown’s dialed-in zone defense and timely shooting propelled the defending Class AAA state champions over Fairmont Senior Saturday evening inside Joe Retton Arena.
The No. 1-ranked Mohigans won, 52-26.
The matchup was a battle of the top ranked teams in both Class AAA and Class AA. However, both teams began the night a little tight and struggled from the field.
The first point of the game wasn’t scored until three and a half minutes into the game and it was only a 9-6 game after the first quarter.
The Polar Bears missed their first seven shots of the game and didn’t score until the 1:50 mark.
“Basically what they did tonight was our gameplan,” Fairmont Senior coach Corey Hines said after the team’s first loss of the season. “We want to limit you to one shot and then we want to get up the floor and run. They limited us to one shot and we didn’t rebound well.”
Morgantown’s 2-3 zone defense gave the Polar Bears fits all evening. The Mohigans were successful in plugging up passing lanes and forcing many Fairmont turnovers.
“They had a good looking zone, but we had some good looks,” Hines said. “Some of our shots didn’t fall and then we weren’t patient.”
The Mohigans started the second quarter on a 7-0 run before Hines called a timeout to regroup. The Polar Bears outscored the defending champs 9-5 during the remainder of the half.
Points were certainly at a premium for Fairmont Senior in the loss. The team made just 6-of-20 shots in the first half of play, but only trailed, 20-15.
Morgantown really took control in the third quarter. The team scored the first 13 points of the half to separate themselves from FSHS.
West Virginia University commit Olivia Seggie scored a game-high 16 points and added six assists. She shined in the third quarter as the Mohigans outscored the Polar Bears, 20-4.
“They took pride into being number one,” Hines said. “You have to work even harder when you are being chased. It’s much easier to chase others. We have to be better.”
Trailing by 21, the fourth
quarter was filled with reserves finishing the evening. It was a tough night for the team’s two leaders, Emily Stoller and Kaden Whaley, who finished with a combined eight points.
Whaley led Fairmont Senior with six points off the bench.
Nine players scored for Morgantown in the win as the Mohigans took care of their second Big 10 conference opponent in as many nights.
Sydney Holloway scored 10 for the Mohigans while Paige Poffenberger added seven points while Sammie Parks chipped in with five.
Morgantown shot 51 percent from the field and showed complete control of the game’s pace.
The Mohigans featured an impressive blend of halfcourt offense and fast break attacks in the second half that pushed them past Fairmont.
For the Polar Bears, the team was just 9-of-36 from a field, good for just 25 percent. But Hines’ biggest disappointment was his team’s performance at the line. The Polar Bears were just 8-of-17 at the charity stripe.
There was just one three-pointer made in the entire game coming from Morgantown’s Parks.
FSHS shot 0-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Polar Bears fell to 1-1 on the season while Morgantown improved to 2-0 with the victory.
Despite the loss, the game was certainly a good test for the Polar Bears in the season’s opening weekend for Hines to see where the team stood up against some of the state’s best competition.
“You can’t have any false senses of security,” Hines said. “We can’t make the mistakes that we made tonight against a team like that. It showed.”
North Marion’s girls’ basketball team improved to 3-0 on the young season with a road victory at Webster County on Saturday.
The Lady Huskies won, 94-27.
For the third straight game sophomore Christa Tobin led in scoring with 17 points. She also added five rebounds and four assists in the win.
Meanwhile, Megan Haller scored 16 points and had eight steals.
Presley Tuttle scored 14 points and added four assists while Taylor Wells scored nine points and hauled in 11 rebounds.
Webster County’s leading scorer was Nikki Williams with 10 points.
North Marion will travel to Fairmont Senior on Wednesday.
East Fairmont closed out its entry in the Berkeley Springs tournament on Saturday with a 39-33 loss to Frankfort.
The Bees led 16-15 at halftime, but allowed the Falcons to go on a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter that lifted the team to victory.
Felicity VanGilder scored 12 points and added six rebounds in the loss while Lauryn Antolock scored nine and grabbed five rebounds.
VanGilder and Kelsey Quinn were both named to the all-tournament team.
With the loss, East Fairmont fell to 1-1 on the season.
Email Joe Mitchin at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JoeMitchinTWV.