MORGANTOWN - With star junior forward Nathan Adrian struggling offensively, Morgantown's Dean Marshall responded with 20 points and seven rebounds in a 67-56 double-overtime victory against No. 1 Wheeling Park at MHS's Rowdy Center on Thursday night.
''We got knocked off our high horse,'' Wheeling Park coach Michael Jebbia said. ''We may see them four more times.''
The 6-foot-3 Marshall scored nine points in the two extra sessions to give the Mohigans (4-0) a critical early season victory. He notched the first four points of the second overtime, as MHS reeled off 14 unanswered points to put the contest away.
Wheeling Park’s Luke Saseen has his shot blocked by Morgantown’s Nathan Adrian (33) as Austin Agnew (43) assists on Thursday in Morgantown.
Photo by Jason DeProspero/The Dominion Post
Marshall wasn't the only MHS player to ride to the rescue. Guards Nick Colasante and Jeff Leftridge registered 22 and 10 points, respectively. Those three players helped MHS battle back from a six-point deficit late in the fourth quarter.
"I'm just as happy as a hog in a waller," Morgantown coach Tom Yester said. "It was very good to hold our composure. We were down six in the middle of the fourth quarter. Instead of pressing, we stayed the course. We showed what we are capable of doing."
Colasante's most important contribution may have been an intentional miss on his second free throw with 3.4 seconds remaining in regulation. He made the first one to cut the MHS deficit to 45-43.
He bounced his second attempt off the rim at just the right angle, so the 6-9 Adrian could tip it into the bucket over his shorter defender. Wheeling Park couldn't answer, and the teams went to overtime.
"That was a little bit of luck and a credit to Nathan," Colasante said with a smile.
Colasante's big night took Jebbia by surprise.
''He didn't do much against Brooke,'' Jebbia said. ''We thought we had an advantage on their guards. Give them credit. It's my fault. We could have prepared for the zone more.''
Leftridge converted a key 3-point play with a minute left in the first overtime to tie the score and force a second overtime.
Adrian didn't shoot well but finished with 10 points, including the putback that sent the game into overtime, and 17 rebounds.
The Mohigans overcame a monster game from Wheeling Park's Boo Lathon, who led his team with 22 points and was a terror on the offensive boards. Errin Baynes finished with 14 points.
"It's a big win," Colasante said. "We prepared and went hard in practice. This game meant a lot to us, especially to win."