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Capital clips Morgantown
Rick Ryan
December 15, 2007

Senior guard Rio Berkley fired in a game-high 25 points Friday night as Capital opened its season with a bit of revenge in earning a 65-56 boys basketball victory over Morgantown in the West Virginia Hoops Classic at the Civic Center.

photos by David Miller, wvrsn.com.

It may not have completely eased Capital's mind, but at least it was a good start. The Mohigans were the team that ended Capital's season last March with a painful 43-37 first-round decision in the Class AAA state tournament, also at the Civic Center. The Cougars shot 21 percent that game.

"I felt like we owed them,'' Berkley said, "but it would be good to come out and get a win for our first game anyway. Plus, when you come to the Civic Center, it's a big game.''

The Cougars were able to recover Friday after losing a large early lead.

Capital scored 16 straight points to go up 16-5, but the Mohigans rallied to go back in front before halftime. The teams were tied at the break at 29.

"It kind of reminded me of last year's game,'' said Capital coach Carl Clark. "It was almost a carbon copy.

"We lost a good lead at the beginning of the ballgame, but you expect that from a good team like Morgantown. They're not going to quit on you. You've got to make them surrender, and we didn't do that. We got a good lead, then we started doing stupid things, and then find yourself in a battle the whole ballgame. We did that last year, and now starting off again this year, and hope we can work ourself out of it.''

Berkley carried the Cougars in the third quarter, scoring all seven of their baskets and totaling 15 of Capital's 17 points.

"I kind of had a slow first half,'' Berkley said. "I wasn't producing for our team the way I should because of foul trouble. I felt I had to come out in the second half and produce points and get some defensive steals and rebounds for my team.''

Both Berkley and starting center Tyrone Goard sat out most of the second quarter with two personal fouls. Goard still finished with a double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds).

At one point in the second quarter, Capital had all-stater Malik Witten and four reserves on the floor (three sophomores and a freshman). Providing a first-half spark for the Cougars were backups Nick Arthur (five points) and Dominique Ferrante (three points, rebounds).

"We expect if our kids play defense the way we're playing right now, with all the reaching and stuff, we're going to have that situation in a lot of ballgames,'' Clark said. "but it gave us the opportunity to play a lot of kids. If you can do that and stay with a pretty good team . . . they didn't run off and leave us. We played even with them.''

Also for Capital, Witten had 12 points and seven rebounds and freshman low post Tyquane Goard, younger brother of Tyrone, grabbed eight rebounds. The Cougars led 46-37 off the boards.

For Morgantown (1-1), game MVP Anthony Schifano gunned in 16 points, including five 3-point goals. Craig Carey added 11 points, but was 1-of-10 from the floor and 9-of-17 at the foul line. Carey also collared eight rebounds. Ben Hewitt led the team with 10.

Tyler Anderson came off the bench to provide nine points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Mohigans.

Morgantown was never closer than five points in the fourth quarter. Tyrone Goard added the exclamation point with a breakaway slam dunk in the closing seconds.

Berkley, selected as Capital's game MVP, added five of his team's 12 steals.

"It made us more hungry and more determined to win that [the game] was against Morgantown,'' Berkley said, "but I think if it was anybody else, we still would have come out and played hard.''

To contact staff writer Rick Ryan, use e-mail or call 348-5175.

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