The Pilots' Brett "Hitman" Price hit the game-winning basket over the outstretched hands of Blue Eagle Mark Winters just before the buzzer, giving host River a thrilling 54-52 victory over Magnolia Jan. 15.
After Magnolia knotted the game at 52 with 13 ticks of the clock left in regulation, River Head Coach Mark Romick called a time out to set up the game's final play. "It was going to Brett all the way. We had a set play in case Magnolia came out in a zone, but when they went to man, we just got the ball into Brett's hands," stated Romick. "We went to a 1-4 low and gave him a high screen. He always wants the last shot and he delivered for us again."
After the game Price added, "I just can't say how I feel, it hasn't hit me yet. It was a total team effort. We did what we had to do to win the game, and I'm just thankful that I could help in some way."
Senior forward Cody Caldwell added to what Romick said, "I told coach that Brett was going to knock it down. We work on that play at least 500 times in our back yard, with my hand right in his face. And he buried it, time after time.
The Blue Eagles' Zach Wilhoite tallied the game's first two baskets before Caldwell drained a threeball from the corner for the Pilots. In the period, Price drained a pair of triples, including a basket from beyond the arc at the buzzer to end period one. Caldwell and Matt Marconi each tacked on one basket from long range to highlight the opening period that gave the Pilots a 16-11 edge.
In the second period, the score flipped-flopped, with the Eagles' Winters making five deuces and two of four free throws, while Caldwell paced the Pilots with a three pointer and a pair of two pointers that evened the count at 27 all.
In the third period, the Big Blue pounded inside, with Winters knocking in six baskets and Wilhoite dunking one inside the paint. However, the Cadwell and Marconi each drained a triple, with Caldwell adding a deuce that knotted the game after three periods at 41.
In the final period, Marconi netted a pair of threeballs, while Price swished the cords for the game-winning deuce.
Winters tallied a pair of buckets, while Garrett Emch netted a two pointer and a free throw to pace the Eagles.
It's been seven years since the Pilots have beaten its cross-river rival twice in one season and it's the first time this season that the taller Eagles were out-rebounded 35-30.
Winters led all scorers with 31 points and 18 rebounds, while Wilhoite followed with 12 points and wiped the glass with 10.
In addition, Preston Boswell was held to four free throws, while Emch netted three and Kyle Elliott a deuce.
For the Pilots, Price, Caldwell, and Marconi each tickled the twine thrice from beyond the arc, with Price netting 19; Caldwell, 15; and Marconi, 12 points.
In addition, Jordan Indermuhle netted six points and hauled in 15 rebounds, while Kameron Brown netted a two pointer.
Price, Marconi, and Indermuhle each made three steals, while Caldwell dished out four assists.
Buckeye Trail 46
River Pilots Brett Price and Cody Caldwell teamed for 41 points, including seven baskets from beyond the arc, to lead River to a 61-46 victory over the home-standing Buckeye Trail Jan. 19.
Jordan Indermuhle tacked on 11 markers, while Cody Isaly nailed a three-ball and a deuce. In addition, Matt Marconi and Joey Flannery each contributed a two spot.
Magnolia 76, Cameron 69
Blue Eagle power forward Mark Winters netted a game-high 33 points to lead Magnolia to a 78-53 victory over the Cameron Dragons Jan. 16 at Magnolia High School.
Preston Boswell followed with 20 markers that included four bonus bombs, while Zach Wilhoite netted 10 points. In addition, Stephen Rogalski contributed seven markers that included a triple, while Kyle Elliott tacked on six points and Eric Smith a deuce.
Linsly 76, Magnolia 69
Mark Winters tallied 37 points that included three bonus bombs, but it wasn't enough as the Magnolia Blue Eagles fell 76-69 to Linsly in boys' basketball action Jan. 18 in Wheeling.
The Cadets opened the game with a 10-2 run, but the Big Blue closed out the period with a 14-6 run for a Linsly two-point advantage after one period of play.
Winters set sail a threeball that gave Magnolia a 24-23 lead, but the Cadets would finish the period with a 34-32 lead. The two teams traded baskets for most of the third frame, with the Cadets in front 46-41 with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
The Eagles' Zach Wilhoite nailed a deuce to open the fourth, but the Cadets used a 11-2 run to put the game away.
Wilhoite and Stephen Rogalski netted 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Preston Boswell added nine points and Kyle Elliott a deuce.
The Big Blue will host Clay-Battelle tonight, before battling Wheeling Central inside the HammerDome Jan. 26.
Magnolia, along with the New Martinsville Rotary Club, will host the New Martinsville?Rotary Basketball Challenge Saturday, starting with Bishop Donahue taking on Williamstown at 1:30 p.m. At 3:30 p.m. Tyler Consolidated will play Weirton Madonna, then Paden City will entertain Morgantown Trinity at 5:30 p.m. Magnolia will end the Challenge when they host Wheeling Central at 7:30 p.m.