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6:06pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Young reaches milestone in Morgantown’s 56-47 win over Shady Spring

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown and Shady Spring’s boys basketball teams are both in the early stages of trying to replace an abundance of talent from last year’s team.

The Mohigans were the far more polished team throughout the opening quarter of Friday’s matchup in the Little General Classic at MHS, and it made all the difference in their 56-47 win over the Tigers.

“We have a lot of new faces and people forget we graduated a lot of great players,” MHS head coach Dave Tallman said. “This team is going to jell. We’re not there yet and we don’t want to be there yet. We want to peak in March.”

Morgantown (4-0) led 17-2 late in the first quarter and settled for a 12-point lead through 8 minutes in what was its strongest stretch of the matchup.

Sharron Young, who reached the 1,000-point mark for his career, scored eight first-quarter points while Shady Spring (1-1) committed five of its nine turnovers in that frame.

Izzy Everett and Max Frey accounted for consecutive three-pointers in the quarter and Young followed with a transition layup to leave the Tigers facing the 15-point deficit, before Shady Spring’s Jackson Williams capped the scoring with a conventional three-point play to trim his team’s deficit to 17-5 ahead of the second quarter.

“We came out with a lot of energy and played the way we’re supposed to play and executed our press,” Tallman said.

MHS upped its lead to 25-6 on Jacob King’s reverse layup, and the Mohigans continued to smother Shady Spring, which made 4-of-17 shots in the opening half and went to the intermission facing a 30-13 deficit.

“I felt like we were a little shellshocked,” Tigers’ head coach Ronnie Olson said. “This is a younger team and everybody knows what we lost last year. They kind of punched us in our mouth and that’s what we do to people. We like to come out and throw the first punch and we played a little timid and they punched us in the mouth. But we threw haymakers back and we fought and that’s a characterization of a good team.”

Williams accounted for all but one of his team’s field goals through two quarters, while Morgantown went to the break having made 13-of-24 shots and with a 16-8 rebounding edge.

Young, who went to halftime with 12 points, reached 1,000 for his career when he took a pass from King, dribbled once and soared for a right-handed layup at the 5:45 mark of the third quarter.

“We had things going and I knew it was probably going to come sooner than later, so I wasn’t trying to rush anything,” Young said. “I let the game come to me.”

MHS led 34-16 when Young reached his milestone, but the Tigers picked up their offensive production the rest of the way, including an immediate 7-1 surge with Ammar Maxwell finishing at the basket to bring his team to within 35-23 and forcing a Morgantown timeout with 2:50 remaining in the third.

The Mohigans’ Jay Shrewsberry made a triple out of the timeout, but Jalon Bailey scored from close range twice late in the frame to help the Tigers stay within striking distance at 42-29 entering the fourth.

“We’re supposed to be trapping and weren’t. We let them slow play us,” Tallman said. “They did a good job and Ronnie knows what he’s doing and made good coaching adjustments. They threw the ball to the middle of the floor and we had some guys in man and some guys in zone. It was a bad second half, but it’s December and this is a new way of playing for us. We’re going to look at the film and get better every day and when March comes, watch out.”

Maxwell continued to excel in the fourth and his back-to-back layups brought SSHS to within 44-35 with 5:35 left.

King and Young had the next two buckets, though Maxwell made 3-of-4 free throws in a 40-second span to have the Tigers trailing 50-40 with 2:54 remaining.

Shady Spring reserve Josiah McKoy ran off five straight points, including a conventional three-point play with 1:55 left that cut the Mohigans’ advantage to 52-45 — the closest the game had been since 9-2.

Everett answered with a driving basket at the 1:23 mark, and the Tigers ultimately didn’t score again until Maxwell’s layup with 10 seconds left for the game’s final points.

“They’re a young, inexperienced team and for them to compete on this stage against the best team in the state bar none shows growth and maturity,” Olson said. “We were there and had a chance in the fourth quarter and I was proud of them.”

Young led all players with 20 points and did so on 10-for-15 shooting. He also had game highs of five assists and seven rebounds to help key the Mohigans to a decisive 36-19 advantage on the boards.

“I’m so proud of him. I love him to death. We’ve been with each other for four years here and beyond. He’s earned it,” Tallman said. “He missed eight games with a wrist injury last year and eight games the year before with COVID, so he would’ve gotten this a long time ago. I’m glad he got it tonight in front of a great crowd and there’s nobody that works harder.”

Everett and King added 12 points apiece and the duo combined for 11 boards.

“These are good games and you want to play good people,” Tallman said. “The first three games were hard because you didn’t really get to see much on film, but this was a good battle and we’re going to learn a lot from this film.”

Maxwell scored 16 second-half points to finish with 18 on 7-for-12 shooting. He also led the Tigers with six rebounds.

Williams added 11 points for Shady, which made 12-of-22 field goals after halftime.

“They gained a ton of experience. I love the way that they competed. I’m not disappointed at all,” Olson said. “I just didn’t like the way we started the game, but we changed what we did. We pressed on and that’s growth and maturity.” 

— — — — —

In the first boys game of the Little General Classic, Woodrow Wilson had its way with University, 71-46.

The Flying Eagles were led by Elijah Redfern, who poured in 32 points to become a 1,000-point scorer in his prep career.

Coby Dillon added 14 points and Zyon Hawthorne scored 10 in the win.

Beckley trailed 15-12 through one quarter, but led 33-24 at halftime. The Flying Eagles took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter and then outscored the Hawks, 20-5.

Zachary Demidovich scored 11 points to lead University, while Ethan Jackson added 10 in defeat.