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Morgantown recovers, rolls past SC 50-39

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After a close loss Friday night at Logan, Morgantown was determined to end its southern trip with a win.

Despite a sluggish start, perhaps a result of Friday's battle, the Mohigans found their groove Saturday, outscoring host South Charleston 27-12 over the second and third quarters en route to a 50-39 girls basketball win.

Class AAA No. 3 Morgantown was able to get the job done in several ways, primarily through balanced scoring and a swarming defense that forced 17 South Charleston turnovers and held the Black Eagles to 28.6 percent shooting.

Mohigans coach Adam Henkins admitted he was concerned about his team's energy after Friday's 64-61 loss, but was pleased with Saturday's result.

"We really thought we were going to get [Friday] night's win, we should've had [Friday] night's win, and today could've went either way," Henkins said. "I'm glad the way they responded because they thought they had won one [Friday] night and to come away with one out of two is good. I was really worried about how they were going to respond but they battled back and got a good win against a quick and well-coached team."

Early on, the Mohigans seemed to play with a bit of a hangover as SC led 15-13 after the first quarter. But Morgantown point guard Leah Taylor took over, slashing to the hoop, finding open shooters and scoring 10 of her game-best 14 points in the first half.

Emily Sabatino did most of the damage in the second half, scoring all 13 of her points as the Mohigans were able to grow their lead to as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Post player Allison Thompson chipped in 11 points for Morgantown.

"We're very deep," Henkins said. "What's nice about this team is that we don't have a dominant player. Haley Holloway had 20 points [Friday] night and Caroline Colombo had 18, tonight Leah Taylor and Colombo stepped up. We're very deep, very unselfish and we play very hard as a team. We don't put all of our eggs in one basket, we spread them out. We can do a little bit of everything."

The road doesn't figure to get any easier for the road-warrior Mohigans, who are in a stretch of seven straight away games that has taken the team from Pittsburgh to Logan to South Charleston and will conclude with a Parkersburg South-Wheeling Park-Martinsburg swing.

South Charleston (6-5) certainly wasn't overmatched athletically Saturday and played well enough defensively to hang around, but willing a ball to go through the net was a tall order all day.

Guards Taliah Cashwell, Lina Villanueva and Alexia Wade combined for just 5-of-30 shooting and 17 points, and the rest of the team had trouble picking up the offensive slack.

SC coach John Testa said his young team is still learning not only how to shoot, but also when to shoot.

"It's selection," Testa said. "There's a difference between a good shot and a bad shot. If you make a bad shot I'm still going to be a little upset, but if you miss a good shot I'll never say a word to you."

Aryuanna Mosley returned after a two-game absence and posted a solid 11 points and 12 rebounds for SC. Alliyah Webb also turned in a good effort, scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting and handling the ball for the majority of the game.

"I don't know how many turnovers we had," Testa said. "We weren't strong with the ball. They have really good ball pressure and we just kind of folded. We didn't move without the ball. They didn't do anything we didn't know they were going to do. We prepared for it [Friday] and I thought we'd come out OK. But a team like that, they were ranked No. 1 at one point in the season, and you hold them to 50 points - we just can't score right now. If we start scoring we'll be OK."

Villanueva also scored nine points for the Black Eagles.

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pritt@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.

 


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