It’s hard to beat any team four times in the same season, let alone your biggest rival, but University did just that Wednesday night.
The Class AAA No. 1 Hawks fought off a slow start to beat crosstown rival Morgantown 70-51 in the state quarterfinals at the Charleston Civic Center to complete the season sweep of the Mohigans and reserve their spot in Friday’s semifinal round.
Morgantown (17-9) opened the game on an 11-0 run and appeared poised to become the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 since the current seeding format was put in place for the 2005 season. The Hawks rallied, scoring 10 straight before a Mohigans 3-pointer at the buzzer made it 14-10 to end the first quarter.
“Bad start,” said University coach Joe Schmidle. “We don’t pride ourselves on the way we start but we pride ourselves on the way we finish. I think after we got a little settled down after the first few minutes, after we called a timeout we settled in and took a little better shots. We got the ball in the hands of No. 3 [Kaden Metheny] a few times in a row there and he made some big plays coming off some picks to hit some 3s. I think we just needed to see the ball go through the basket a couple of times, then we were right on track.”
The shots started falling for the Hawks in the second quarter, while the Mohigans went cold. University (25-1) opened up a 25-19 lead going into the half, with Morgantown shooting just 2 of 11 from the floor and 1 of 4 at the foul line in the quarter.
That trend continued into the third quarter, with the Hawks limiting the Mohigans to just six shots with two made — both 3-pointers, as University ran its lead to 46-29 before a mostly even fourth quarter.
“Our shots didn’t drop and theirs did,” Morgantown coach David Tallman said. “Kaden Metheny, we did everything in our power to try and eliminate him as much as we could. He just made very tough, contested shots. Their 3-point shooting percentage today was unbelievable.”
University made eight of its 12 3-point attempts and went 18 of 23 at the foul line. Morgantown shot 16 of 41 for the game with a 9-of-24 performance from distance while making just 10 of 22 foul shots.
Metheny led the way for the Hawks with 23 points. K.J. McClurg chipped in with 14 while Ethan Ridgeway scored 12 and Clay Bailey finished with 11.
Garrett Haines led the Mohigans with 15 points off the bench while Cam Selders also finished in double figures with 13 points.
University will play the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal game between No. 4 Martinsburg and No. 5 Woodrow Wilson in the semifinals at 7:15 p.m. Friday.