Linsly falls to Morgantown, 66-57

T-L Photo/SETH STASKEY LINSLY SENIOR Gavin Jackson drives to the basket against Morgantown’s Sharron Moore during Friday night’s game at the Stifel Fieldhouse. Both Jackson and Moore scored 21 points for their team, but it was the Mohigans that picked up the 65-57 victory.

WHEELING — Two of the premier teams in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference as well as the state of West Virginia, regardless of class, made each other better Friday night inside the Stifel Fieldhouse.

Morgantown — the top-ranked team and defending Class AAA state champion — got all it wanted and then some from Linsly before pulling out the hard-earned 65-57 victory.

“This was a really good high school basketball game was definitely worth the price of admission,” Morgantown head coach and Magnolia High School graduate David Tallman said. “This was a great game for both teams that will make both of us better. Give Linsly a ton of credit because they hit shots all night long to stay in the game, but I was proud of our guys for weathering the storm and executing down the stretch.”

Morgantown, which appears to be well on its way to a return trip to the OVAC Class 5A tournament next month, looked like it was on the verge of running away and hiding from the Cadets, who are still in a good position to qualify for the OVAC Class 3A tournament.

The Mohigans took a 28-27 lead into halftime and built on it from there, outscoring Linsly 20-12 and that included a buzzer beater by Linsly’s Will Taylor to make it a 48-39 reading after three.

“I thought the beginning of the second half was big,” Linsly head coach Dave Wojcik said. “We knew that would be big and we didn’t stop them. They made a run and they’re a rhythm team. They got some confidence and got going. I think that was the difference.”

The Cadets, however, weren’t going to go away quietly and they didn’t. Actually, they scored nine of the first 10 in the opening 2:15 of the fourth. Senior Nate Coleman got a pair of buckets on the interior and then classmate Gavin Jackson hit a pull-up jumper in the lane and then knocked home a bonus goal.

The Mohigans (14-1) never flinched. Senior point guard Sharron Young, who was unflappable all night long, put the brakes on the Linsly run with a bucket in the lane. Brody Davis got a bucket on the interior, which followed a pair of foul shots from Jacob King.

“Linsly’s ball-screen action had them sucked up to some of our shooters, so we had ran about every ball-screen play we had just trying to get some guys some space,” Tallman said. “We have all of the respect for Coach Wojcik and we knew this team wasn’t going to go away.”

Linsly was able to get as close as three at 56-53 when senior Carter Anderson drilled a trey. However, as they did throughout the evening, the Mohigans continued to knock down free throws.

All told, Morgantown was 21 of 26 from the line, including a 12 of 15 effort in the fourth. Leading the fourth-quarter charge at the stripe was Brody Davis, who was seven of eight in the fourth and nine of 10 in the game.

“This was a high-level basketball game and a great game to coach in and watch,” Wojcik said. “I told the kids to be thankful that they had the opportunity to play in a game like this. Playing better teams definitely helps because if you don’t play good teams and win by 30 all the time, you’re not getting any better and developing a false confidence, in my opinion. Plus, you have to taste some failure to get to success.”

Morgantown was led in the scoring column by Young’s 21 points. Davis added 19 and Izzy Everett added seven.

On the other side, the Cadets were paced by Jackson’s 21 points. Anderson added 17 and Coleman finished with eight.

“I am proud of my team,” Wojcik said. “These kids come here (to Linsly) to play against good competition, so it’s our job to find the best games we can get and schedule people who want to play. It helps us. It’ll help us next week against Steubenville and into the OVAC (Tournament).”


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