MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Class AAA No. 10 Morgantown twice hit clutch, game-tying 3s in the closing seconds on Monday night, beating No. 4 Martinsburg in a marathon, four-overtime contest, 79-77.
The win capped a late-season surge for the Mohigans (15-7) who had come up just short in similar big-game situations early in the year.
“I’m just really proud that we finally got one – we finally pushed that boulder over the hill,” said Morgantown coach Dave Tallman. “I know it sucks to be Martinsburg right now, losing a game that close, because they play so hard and they play with so much emotion.
“You can tell they have hard-nosed, high character kids,” Tallman said. “But this was a great game for both teams and I think that was definitely tournament-type basketball.”
Trailing 60-57, the Mohigans’ Drew Selders drained a deep 3 with 0.4 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
But Morgantown would need more heroics in the first extra session as well.
After Martinsburg (17-5) left the door open, missing four straight free throws, Morgantown’s Rance Blakney drilled a corner 3 with 2.5 seconds to go, tying the game up once again at 71-71, sending the contest into a second overtime.
“Drew (Selders) hit a big 3 in regulation,” Tallman said. “And Rance Blakney, who never shoots 3s, hit one for us. Rance is just one of the greatest people you would ever meet – he deserves to make a shot like that and it fell for him.”
It was Morgantown that couldn’t convert at the line in the second OT as Cam Selders missed a pair of free throws with just 3.8 seconds to go, ultimately forcing a third overtime, tied at 73-73.
In that third extra session, 6-foot-6 junior center Nick Malone knocked down two free throws under pressure, with 23 seconds remaining, to tie the game at 77-77 and send the contest into a fourth overtime.
Malone would score the only bucket of overtime No. 4, inside the lane with four seconds to go. A long 3 from Martinsburg’s Grant Harman was off the mark on the other end as Morgantown prevailed.
“We had been going to Cam Selders a lot, so we ran something to get him the ball isolated and (Martinsburg) did a beautiful job on it,” Tallman said. “But we found Nick (Malone) on the slip – it was a great pass.”
Morgantown had trailed by double digits in the second half before making its comeback.
Cam Selders led the Mohigans with 22 points, while Malone finished with 16 points, Drew Selders totaled 13 points, Lamar Haskins added 10 points and Jayron Wilson scored nine points.
“That was crazy,” Cam Selders said. “Our student section was crazy, our bench was crazy. We wanted to win it – we wanted it more. They were talking, we were talking and it was a great game.”
The win for Morgantown avenges a one-point loss to Martinsburg back on January 20. Corey Barnett led the Bulldogs Monday night with 29 points, while Jarod Bowie added 17 points and Harman 13 points.
It’s a Morgantown team that now enters the postseason riding a lot of momentum, having won eight straight games and 10 of 12 overall.
“It feels great to finally get a win in the clutch,” Cam Selders said. “We’ve lost by one and two points a lot this year. This one gives us a lot of confidence going into sectionals.”
Highlights (with radio calls from Kyle Wiggs on WAJR in Morgantown):