With 4.2 seconds remaining in regulation, and the Blue Eagles on top by one point against Greater Beckley, sophomore Derek Blain came off the bench to make a steal and dish it off to Preston Boswell, who made a conventional three point-play to lift Magnolia to a 78-74 victory Feb. 1 in Beckley. With the win, Magnolia improved to 8-3 on the season.
The game got started with deuces by Spencer Campbell and Zach Willhoite, but Beckley quickly answered with three straight buckets to go up 6-4.
Boswell would then swish one of his five baskets from beyond the arc to put the Big Blue ahead 7-6. Beckley would then score seven of the next nine points to give them a 13-9 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
From this point, Boswell, Zach Willhoite and Mitch Winters each found themselves in foul trouble with two apiece. Magnolia would then outscore the Crusaders 8-5 the rest of the first quarter to cut the deficit to just one point after eight minutes of play.
Magnolia's sophomore big man Kyle Ritz netted the first basket of the period, and, after Crusader triple, the Eagles' Eric Smith answered with three points the hard way to make it 22-21 in favor of the Blue.
After a Beckley charity toss that evened the count, Winters drilled a deuce to put go back on top, 24-22. After both teams sank charity tosses, the Eagles netted two deuces to ahead 29-23. The Crusaders scored a deuce and a threeball before Boswell and Spencer Campbell sank long balls themselves to make the score 35-28. However, the Crusaders went on a 11-3 run to to take a 39-38 lead at the break.
Beckley opened the third period with a deuce, but the Blue Eagles netted the game's next seven markers, keyed by a pair of Ritz buckets that gave Magnolia a 45-41 lead early in the third frame.
Beckley came roaring back to tie it up at 49 midway through the third, and Boswell ended the period with a trey at the buzzer to make the score 59-59 to would set up a wild fourth quarter.
To start the fourth, Blain drilled a three, but Beckley answered with four straight points take the lead once more. Magnolia's Campbell drilled a basket from well beyond the arc, but Beckley once again answered with four straight points to go up 67-65.
However, Boswell tickled the twine from long range to give the Big Blue a 68-67 lead with 3:38 to play. That would force a Greater Beckley timeout.
Both teams traded buckets until the score stood at 74-71, MHS, with less then a minute to play in regulation. However, Beckley tied it up at 74 with a bonus bomb. With 0.17 seconds left in the game, Boswell stepped to the free throw line and hit one of two to give Magnolia a one-point lead.
Blain stole the inbound pass and dished it off to a streaking Boswell, who put the game away with basket in overdrive to make the final score 78-74 MHS.
Campbell and Boswell each netted 25 markers, while Winters posted 10 points. Ritz and Willhoite both contributed six points, while Blain and Smith both each sank a threeball.
The Blue Eagles had 25 teams fouls against them which resulted in the Crusaders shooting 11-16 from the free throw line, while the Eagles shot 10-18.
Magnolia 82, Clay-Battelle 51
The Blue Eagles raced out to a 30-11 lead and never looked back in handing the Clay-Battelle Cee-Bees a 82-51 loss Jan. 30 in Blacksville.
Boswell and Campbell set the pace early on for the Blue Eagles, combining for 22 of their first 30 points scored, helped by a swarming Magnolia defense that caused countless Cee-Bee turnovers that led into easy Eagle points.
The Cee-Bees tallied two straight bonus bombs to open the second before Willhoite cashed in on a jumper. After another Wilhoite deuce, both Boswell and Winters both drilled long bombs to make the score 40-17.
Clay-Battelle would not go away quietly and would tally nine of the last 13 points of the half to make the score 44-26 at the break.
The Cee-Bees scored six of the first eight in the third before the Eagles scored six of the next eight points to grab a 54-34 lead. Both teams traded buckets the rest of the third frame, with Magnolia holding on to a 62-41 advantage after three quarters of play.
To start the fourth period, Clay-Battelle would tally two quick buckets. But Winters would then cash in on a three-point basket way to put MHS back up 65-45.
Boswell scored two quick baskets to extend Magnolia's lead to 69-45 with five minutes left to play. The Eagles then finished off the Cee-Bees, scoring 14 of the games final 20 points.
Boswell paced the Big Blue with a game-high 29 points, including a pair of triples, while Campbell followed with 20 markers that included a trio of baskets from beyond the arc. Winters and Wilhoite tallied 13 and 10 points, respectively, while Ritz chipped in with six points; Blain, three and Tyler Anderson one point.
Magnolia will next play host to the New Martinsville Rotary Basketball Challenge, which was postponed to 8 p.m. Feb. 6. The Eagles will take on the Maroon Knights of Wheeling Central in what is also a make-up game from earlier in the season.
Paden City will start the ball rolling in the tourney when they take on the River Pilots at 5:15 p.m. Bishop Donahue will lock horns with Tyler Consolidated in the second game.
On Friday, Feb. 7 the Eagles will take on the Monroe Central Seminoles before returning home on Saturday, Feb. 8 to challenge the Paden City Wildcats.