Mark Winters surpassed 2,000 points for his career in the Magnolia Blue Eagle 74-50 defeat of the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights in the Region I, Section I championship at John Marshall Fieldhouse, March 1.
Winters, a 6'6' senior forward and Wheeling Jesuit recruit, became only the 20th state player in almost a century to surpass 2,000 points by scoring 22 markers in the game with Central. Currently at 2,013 points, he trails only Ted Talkington as Magnolia's all-time scorer at 2,024.
There has only been one other school in West Virginia, Harman, that has had more than one player to score more than 2,000 points in their careers. Winters is currently the state's leading scorer with 28.6 points a game and has tallied 686 points in 24 games so far this season.
The Blue Eagle student body, along with the cheerleading squad, played a big part by uplifting their team in gaining the Region I, Section I Championship. They also earned the honor of placing first in RSN?Sports as the top Class-A Student body section. (All photos by Bruce Crawford)
"It's nice to get these accolades, but we have something better than that on our bucket list," said Winters after the game.
The Big Blue has now won 11 straight games and its third in as many tries against the Maroon Knights
Magnolia started its rout of Central with a 14-10 lead at the end of period one when Kyle Elliott drained a kiss off the glass as the buzzer sounded.
In the second period, the Blue Eagle offense fed off the Blue Eagle student body and kicked their offense in high gear. Meanwhile, the stifling defense held the shell-shocked Maroon Knights to only nine points to grab a 36-19 advantage at the break.
Magnolia shot 56 percent from the floor on 14-25 attempts, while its defense held the Knights to 22.5 percent on 7-31 shots from the court.
The Eagles extended their lead in the third period with a streak of eight markers that ended with a bonus bomb from Stephen Rogalski-his fourth of the outing-to grab its largest advantage of the game at 44-19.
From this point on, the Big Blue called off the dogs and put it on cruise control the rest of the way.
"Stephen Rogalski is playing awfully good basketball right now and Mark Winters played his best all-around game of the year," said Blue Eagle mentor Dave Tallman. "He is just a great athlete who is so fast. And when you give him space he's hard to guard."
Coach Tallman went on to say, "I just can't say enough about Kyle Elliott and his defense. He did a great job on Central's Chase Harler.
"There is a good chance we might see Central again if we get by Clay-Battelle Thursday. There is no doubt in my mind that Wheeling Central is a great basketball team. We just played really well tonight."
Rogalski and Winters equally shared 44 points and eight baskets from beyond the arc to lead the Eagle offense, while Elliott added 10 markers.
Freshman phenom Preston Boswell was the conductor of this orchestra, netting nine points that included a pair of baskets from beyond the arc. Spencer Campbell followed with five points off the bench, while Zach Wilhoite was held to four markers and Mike Winters netted a deuce.
Wilhoite was double- and triple-teamed each and every time he touched the ball in the paint, and it would open the door for some easy buckets by his teammates.
The Blue Eagle victory sets up a rubber match against the Clay-Battelle Cee-Bees at 7 p.m. Thursday inside the MHS HammerDome. The winner will head off to Charleston next Wednesday to the state tournament, while the losing team's season will come to a close.
Advanced sale tickets to the Magnolia vs Clay-Battelle regional boys' basketball game on Thursday, March 7, at Magnolia will be on sale in the main office on Wednesday from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and on Thursday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Advance tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults. All tickets at the gate will be $7 and only WVSSAC passes will be accepted.