MOUNDSVILLE - With the locker room nearly empty, John Marshall boys' basketball coach Bill Storm tried to find the words to describe his team's performance Thursday night against No. 5-ranked Morgantown.
''I thought after beating Wheeling Central we could use that as a stepping stone,'' he said moments after the Mohigans laid a 57-24 beating on the Monarchs at the John Marshall Field House.
''But, we went backward. And that was the worst effort during my time as head coach.''
PHOTO BY RICK THORP
Morgantown’s Dean Marshall (25) checks John Marshall’s Tanner Filben on Thursday.
Storm was dripping with disappointment after watching his team falter on both ends of the floor, two days after executing quite well in the victory against the Maroon Knights.
''I don't know what the record for airballs is, but we set it,'' he said. ''We had good looks, but we were shooting a lot of airballs.
''We didn't go after loose balls, we didn't play defense and we looked like we'd never seen a 1-3-1 zone before and we practiced against it (Wednesday) night for a half hour.''
That 1-3-1 defense set the tone for Morgantown (8-1), which came alive in the second quarter after allowing JM's slow tempo to dictate the pace during the first 8 minutes.
''Their guards are young and they made a few mistakes and we took advantage ... finally,'' Morgantown coach Tom Yester said.
After Evan Magers' two free throws cut the Mohigans lead to 6-4 midway through the first quarter, Morgantown went on a 17-0 run to take the lead for good.
''In the first quarter we didn't play very well,'' Yester said, citing his team's 3 of 18 showing from the floor. ''And then we got it in gear a little bit.''
Most of Morgantown's 23 second-quarter points came via turnovers, the majority caused by its relentless defense.
''We tried to make it tough for the guy throwing the ball down to the post,'' Yester explained. ''If we can make them throw it sideways, we have a chance. And, when they got the ball in the corner, I thought we trapped well there.''
The Monarchs (2-8) scored just four points in the second quarter and were 1 of 6 from the field.
''When they went to that 1-3-1 we just threw (the ball) everywhere,'' Storm said. ''And when we got good looks, we missed. I'd never seen anything like it.
''We executed the game plan against Central and (Thursday) we did nothing like we wanted to do it after the first quarter.''
Morgantown led 31-8 at halftime before watching the advantage balloon to 30 after three quarters.
''We kept the ball out of (Justin) Wade's hands and, in the second half, (Nathan) Adrian took the ball to the rim and that's what we ask him to do.''
Wade finished with three points and didn't attempt a shot until the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Adrian rebounded from a horrid first quarter to finish with 15 points. Connor Loudin paced the Mohigans with 16 points off the bench.
''We got a little sloppy in the second half,'' Yester said. ''(John Marshall) got it down to 18 or 19 or so and then we went on another spurt and took the first-stringers out and let some younger guys get some experience.''
Magers paced the Monarchs with 10 points.