Fort Frye made 21-24 free throws, while the Magnolia Blue Eagles shot 20 fewer and converted only one to power the Cadets to a 64-51 victory in the OVAC Class-3A title game Feb. 18 at Ohio University Eastern.
There were 12 different lead changes in the first half and two ties, with the Cadets holding their largest lead at 5-2, and the Eagles holding their largest leads at 9-5 and 11-7.
Stephen Rogalski swiped a Cadet ball and turned it into the game's first bucket. The Cadets would then score the game's next five points before Rogalski drilled one of his two three pointers to knot the game at five. After scoring 12 points each in the second frame, the teams went to the locker room with Magnolia up 25-24.
The third period belonged to Magnolia, as they tacked on two more points than the Cadets to grab a 41-37 lead with eight minutes remaining in regulation. However, the Cadets went 16-17 at the charity stripe in the last three-and-a-half minutes to put the dagger in any hopes of a Magnolia Class-3A repeat.
"This is a great tournament and the OVAC does an amazing job with it," said Magnolia Head Coach Dave Tallman. "But, our goal is to win state championships, and I think overall this means more to the Ohio teams because it is tougher for them to get there (the state tournament)."
Mark Winters and Hunter Campbell each recorded double-doubles for Magnolia. Winters paced Magnolia with 16 points and he grabbed 10 rebounds, while Campbell came off the bench to net 12 points and haul in 11 boards. Rogalski tallied 12 points, including two three-point baskets, one of them coming at the buzzer to end the third period.
In addition, Jayson Keller tickled the twine from beyond the arc twice, while younger brother Drew swished one from long range for all the Eagle scoring.
"The fans got their money's worth with this one," said Tallman. "I think we just picked on the wrong day to pick on Fort Frye's guard Shon Smith. And the thing is we had two of our best defenders on him for most of the game.
I think the foul shooting speaks for itself and that is all I'm saying about that. I will put our OVAC officials up against any other officials, but I really think they had a rough patch. Day in and day out, we have the greatest basketball officials.
"We won our first six games this season then lost to a very good Ohio team. Then we won six more before losing to my son's team from Maryland. And now this game breaks another five-game winning streak. But, I believe they exposed some weaknesses in our team and we will go to work on those.
"The bottom line is that we want to win our last game of the season (state championship) and we feel like we can do that."
Barnesville 47, Magnolia 84
The Magnolia Blue Eagles dismantled the Barnesville Shamrocks 84-47 Feb. 14 inside the MHS HammerDome.
In the basketball equivalent of the "St. Valentine's Day Massacre," Blue Eagle Mark "Special K" Winters tipped off to Zach Wilhoite, who drilled a strike to Stephen Rogalski for the game's first points.
Magnolia would then cause two Shamrock turnovers that resulted in easy buckets by Rogalski and Winters and forcing a Barnesville time out. After the short break, Barnesville netted a threeball. However, Winters and Rogalski each knocked in a basket from beyond the arc to cause another Barnesville time out.
Five different Magnolia players scored in the opening frame, including a dozen tallies by Winters and seven markers by Rogalski that gave the top seeded Eagles a 30-12 advantage after one period of play.
Winters would nail a deuce to start the second frame. After a pair of Shamrock scores, he threw a triple and Rogalski tickled the twine twice to give Magnolia a 30-point halftime lead.
With most of the starters giving way to the bench in the second half, Tyler Myers hit a pair of bonus bombs and, in the third frame, Wilhoite controlled the paint with three baskets that gave Big Blue a 71-34 lead.
Tanner Hanna and Eric Smith each drilled a basket from beyond the arc in the final stanza that gave Magnolia a chance to defend its title against Fort Frye, who topped Shenandoah 64-58 in a semifinal contest.
"All we have been talking about is playing hard and getting better," said Magnolia Head Coach Dave Tallman. "We are healthy-and you saw what the real Stephen Rogalski was like. He really got us off to a great start.
"They tried to play us in a 1-3-1 zone and we just kept pounding it off the boards. I think top to bottom, we may have played our best game of basketball," added Tallman.
Winters led all scorers with 21 points that also included a pair of three-balls, while Rogalski dropped in 15 markers, that also included a trio of baskets from beyond the arc. Coming off the bench, Myers tallied 11 points, including three trifectas.
In addition, Nick Blatt sank eight points, while Wilhoite tallied three deuces. Smith, Jayson Keller, and Hunter Campbell each netted five points, that also included a triple by Smith. Drew Keller knocked in a pair of baskets, while Hanna delivered a basket from long range.
Magnolia 60, Oak Glen 36
The Magnolia Blue Eagles broke open a close game in the third period to stomp the Oak Glen Golden Bears on its home court Feb. 10 by the score of 60-36.
The Blue Eagles took a five point lead after the first period and went into the locker room at the half up only 24-17. However, in the second half the Eagles just wore down the Bears and won going away.
Mark "Special K" Winters paced the Magnolia's offense with a game-high 20 points that included three baskets from beyond the arc. Drew Keller drilled three triples, while Tanner Hanna knocked in eight points that included a basket from long range.
In addition, Zach Wilhoite added seven points, Nick Blatt tacked on six markers, while Hunter Campbell and Stephen Rogalski each accounted for four points. Jayson Keller netted a deuce.
As a team, Magnolia grabbed 30 rebounds, led by Winters, who had a game-high nine, while Blatt and Campbell each hauled in five off the glass. Blatt and Wilhoite each swatted away three Oak Glen shots, while Campbell rejected two. Winters and Jayson Keller each knocked away one Bear shot.
The Blue Eagles had 15 assists, while shooting around 50 percent from the floor. They also had 11 steals, led by Jayson Keller with three. In addition, Blatt, Rogalski, and Wilhoite each took away two Bear passes, while Evan Heslep and Winters each swiped one.