BY R. J. GOODE
For the Wetzel Chronicle
Magnolia junior standout Mark "Special K" Winters poured in a career-high 37 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead the Magnolia Blue Eagles past the Weir Red Riders 71-51 in the Region One, Section One Sectional Championship March 2 at Magnolia High School.
The Eagles got it going early in the first period, jumping out to a 12-2 lead, which included three point baskets from Winters and Stephen Rogalski. The Riders tallied the next six points to cut the lead to 12-8, but moments later Rogalski dished off to Winters, who laid the ball in. Eagle power forward Hunter Campbell knocked in a pair of charity tosses, while the Riders answered with a three pointer. Then, Mike Winters finished the scoring in the quarter with a bucket for an 18-11 Eagles advantage.
In the second quarter, both teams lit up the HammerDome early on. The Riders started with a deuce, but Mark Winters quickly answered with a twoball. Then the Riders tallied eight of the next nine points to knot it up at 21. However, Mark Winters and Drew Keller each knocked down a deuce and Mark Winters added a three- point play that was sandwiched between a Rider deuce and a free throw.
Jayson Keller then hit a freebie, and "Special K" knocked in a twoball to give the good guys a 31-24 lead. After a Rider charity toss, Mark Winters and Rogalski each swished one from beyond the arc to push the Magnolia lead to 37-25 late in the second.
Weir tallied the last basket of the half and Magnolia went into the locker room up by 10 points with a 37-27 lead.
Mark Winters scored 10 of the first 12 points in the third quarter with a pair of deuces followed by back-to-back triples, while Keller and Rogalski each delivered a jumper to push the Blue's advantage to 51-30.
After a Rider two pointer, Mark Winters and Nick Blatt each knocked down a deuce. However, a Red Rider bucket ended the third period with the score 55-34, Magnolia on top.
The fourth period started with a Rider three-point play, but Mark Winters threw in a deuce off a nice assist by Drew Keller. The Riders would then score a pair of free throws and a deuce, but Drew Keller tossed in a deuce of his own. Both teams then traded buckets, until the Eagles ended all the scoring with five free throws.
Mark Winters led the Eagles with a career-high 37 points, including three baskets from beyond the arc and 16 rebounds for a double-double. Next in line was Rogalski with 14 points that also included a pair of triples. After that it was Campbell, Blatt, and Drew Keller each with four points, while Jayson Keller and Tyler Myers both netted three points. Mike Winters rounded out the scoring with two points.
The Eagles were 26-65 from the field and 14-25 from the free throw line, better that Weir, which landed 17-59 from the field and made 13-18 from the charity line.
With the win, the Eagles will host a regional co-finale on Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m. against the Ravenswood Red Devils. Admission is $7 a ticket for both students and adults, with only WVSSAC passes accepted at the gate.
Tyler Consolidated 23,
Three times is a charm, right? Well, in the Magnolia High School HammerDome Feb. 28, Tyler Consolidated tried to use the same recipe it used the first two times they played the Blue Eagles. Each time it failed, with the Silver Knights falling 98-40 in game one and 74-35 in game two. Even though Consolidated might have given the Blue Eagles a scare for awhile, it still ended with the same result, a 40-23 loss.
It wasn't like Tyler was stalling. They were just patiently waiting for a lapse in the Eagle defense to get off a good shot. It worked pretty well for three quarters. But, when the going gets tough, the Blue Eagles get down and dirty and can play any type of game and play it well.
The Blue Eagles won the toss and Nick Blatt would bury the game's first points off a teammate miss. After a second Jayson Keller steal, Mark "Special K" Winters put back his own miss to give Magnolia a 4-0 lead. Meanwhile, Keller picked up his second foul and took a seat for the remainder of the first quarter, alongside starter Zach Wilhoite, who injured his ankle a week earlier and didn't dress for the second straight game.
The Knights converted one of two from the charity line to get them on the board. After a Blue Eagle miss, the Knights worked the ball for an easy bucket before Winters tallied a twoball inside. After pulling down a rebound and going coast-to-coast, Winters was fouled in the act but missed both chances. However, he would drain a jumper to give the hosts an 8-3 lead. After a Hunter Campbell steal, Winters would be fouled in the act and drain both for a 10-3 Magnolia advantage with 1.1 seconds left in period one.
The Knights scored with a jump shot to draw first blood of the second frame. However, a Blatt putback was short lived as the Knights' Dylan Romine swished a basket from beyond the arc to quiet the Magnolia crowd. But, the Blue Eagles went to Winters in the paint, where he tallied his eighth point of the game with a turn-around jumper.
The Knights worked the ball around and canned a two pointer to cut the lead to 14-11. But neither team scored the rest of the quarter and Magnolia went into the locker room up, only 14-11.
Blatt would score his third bucket of the game to start the second half, but Tyler Consolidated worked the slow game to perfection, ending with an easy deuce. After a pair of misses, Winters would can a deuce and Stephen Rogalski would get a steal and a bucket. After a Campbell block, Keller kidnapped a Knight ball and Campbell followed with a bucket.
Keller got another steal, but the Eagles couldn't make it count, and the Knights would connect from long range. However, Winters landed a deuce and a free throw before the Knights picked up a free throw on Campbell, his third foul. The Knights ended the third with a nice basket to draw to within six points at 25-19.
In the fourth period, Winters buried a pair of free throws that got the Eagles' student body to its feet for the remainder of the game. After the free throws, Evan Cline netted a deuce with 5:12 left in regulation. Magnolia's Tyler Myers then connected on a bonus bomb and Hunter Campbell followed with a deuce to give the Blue Eagles an 11-point lead, causing Tyler Head Coach J.C. Kimble to call a time out.
From this point on, neither team made another field goal the rest of the game, but the Big Blue made 8-15 free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.
Winters led Magnolia with 19 points, while Campbell and Blatt added eight and six points, respectively. Myers sank a threeball, while Rogalski scored a deuce and a charity toss and Keller netted a deuce.