MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Morgantown High basketball team had seen University’s Kaden Metheny beat them on several occasions the last three years.
It looked like the junior point guard was going to do it again in the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 championship.
That was until Morgantown’s Garrett Haines decided it was his time to shine.
After fumbling the ball around in the final 10 seconds, the Mohigans got the ball to Haines, who banked in a 3-pointer as time expired for a 57-56 win.
“It was crazy — I didn’t really even know what was going on,” said Haines, who was mobbed by teammates and fans who poured onto University’s court.
“I thought there was more time on the clock and I was looking around, and all of a sudden, everyone just started running at me and I realized what I did. I couldn’t even think straight.”
Metheny’s 22 points included six 3s of his own, with a late one that pushed University ahead 56-54. The Hawks had a chance to put the game away after regaining possession, but Morgantown forced a turnover with 15 seconds left.
Mohigans coach Dave Tallman elected to go for a 3, using the advice of assistant Dennis Kerns to let Haines wiggle free on the perimeter.
The win snapped Morgantown’s eight-game losing streak to University, dating back to January 2017. It also clinched a Tuesday night home game against Section 1 runner-up John Marshall, which lost to Wheeling Park 82-56.
“Garrett is such a good kid. He’s grinded and he’s put weight on in the weight room and he wants to be successful,” Tallman said. “We drew up that play and I said, ‘Garrett, you’re gonna make it, man,’ and he said, ‘I got you, coach,’ and he knocked it in.”
While Haines had 14 points and played the hero in the end, center Nick Malone was a workhorse inside for the Mohigans. He finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
“Nick played incredibly well tonight,” Tallman said. “I’ve been pretty hard on him, trying to motivate him, and he definitely showed up tonight.”
A back-and-forth game began trending toward the Hawks midway through the third quarter, when they pulled ahead 39-31. But the Mohigans answered with a torrid 19-4 run to take a 50-43 lead.
That was when Metheny countered by nailing two 3s and assisting on a fast-break basket to K.J. McClurg.
As University struggled to score inside, coach Joe Schmidle credited Malone’s presence.
“Malone was an animal inside in the paint,” Schmidle said. “We didn’t have an answer for him tonight. He won the game for them. Hats off to him, he played a heck of a game.”
Morgantown will look to earn a fourth consecutive bid to the state tournament if it can beat John Marshall. The Mohigans throttled the Monarchs 81-25 on Jan. 11 at the Rowdy Center.