Eagles Picking Up Momentum Down The Stretch
Tyler Consolidated 75
At the end of the first quarter of Feb. 4’s game, fans for both Magnolia and Tyler Consolidated knew this game was going to be much different than the rivals’ previous matchup.
With less than a second remaining in the first, Andrew Robinson took an inbounds pass near half-court and immediately shot the ball which proceeded to go through the hoop and tie the game at 17-17 as the buzzer sounded. It capped an eight point quarter for him.
Seemingly it gave Magnolia the momentum shift as they took a 27-19 advantage early in the second quarter, but the Silver Knights upped their game and gave Magnolia all they could handle.
It was at that point that Tyler Consolidated used a 17-4 run to shock the hosts. Dustin Snider’s three brought the Knights within one at 27-26. That was followed by treys from Aaron Estep and Tyler Brown. The outside shots were balanced by Zack Minger, Alex Jones, and Cory Lowe who also scored deuce hoops and helped provide a 36-31 lead at the break for the Knights.
The Blue Eagles were able to bounce back and stayed close with the Knights for most of the third thanks to Jared Blatt who scored nine points during that time. Still, the Silver Knights held a 49-47 lead.
That’s when Jordan Moore took over.
The outside shooter, who came off the bench, boosted the Eagles’ offense with a three with 1:27 left in the third to give Magnolia the lead once again. If that was the spark, then he started the fire with two more bonus bombs immediately after that and helped give the Blue Eagles a 57-51 lead with one quarter remaining.
The final eight minutes started just like the third ended. Moore hit his fourth trey of the evening and gave his team a 60-51 lead.
“Jordan Moore did a nice job coming off the bench,” said Magnolia Head Coach Dave Tallman. “He had been struggling a little bit so we played him a little in JV ball, and it really helped him. He had a good JV game, so we threw him in there. We tried to go with the hot hand.”
Tyler Consolidated pushed back but would only get as close as four after Zach Perkey scored on a layup to make it 64-60.
Blatt was able to act as a proverbial closer, scoring four baskets in the quarter while the rest of his team shot 14 of 21 from the free-throw line down the stretch to preserve the 90-75 win.
“It was a wake-up call. I give Tyler a lot of credit. Coach Kimble did an excellent job of having them prepared,” said Tallman. “They played hard. They played their guts out. We know now that they’re a legitimate contender. You can see some of their scores and they’re shooting the ball well. It was really good for us to face that because when you blow someone out the first game, it’s really hard to get motivated. Now we know how good they are. We just have to keep preparing because we might meet them in the tournament later on.”
Leading the way for the Silver Knights were Snider with 23 points and Perkey with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
For Magnolia, Blatt tied Snider for game high honors with 23 points, 17 of which came in the second half. Jon Rine had was the second-leading scorer for the Big Blue with 18. Moore’s 16 all came in the second half. Robinson was the fourth and final Eagle in double figures with 13.
Rounding out Magnolia’s scoring were Matt Sapp with seven, Andy Huggins with six, Josh Yost with five, and Traeh Keller with two.
The win was Magnolia’s second in as many days and was a make-up game as a result of the weather.
“We love playing game after game,” Tallman mentioned. “It’s the time of the year where practice is practice. We know if we go to Charleston it’s going to be Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We have to prepare for that.”
Monroe Central 67
Forward Andy Huggins and guard Traeh Keller came off the bench to score 27 points Feb. 3 to help the 7-3 Magnolia Eagles fly to a 71-67 win against Monroe Central at New Martinsville. The win kept Magnolia close to the top of its Class-AA state ranking and its OVAC Class-AAA rank.
The Blue Eagles trailed 12-7 late in the first period, but a pair of Keller baskets from beyond the arc, keyed a 24-4 run that gave the hosts a 31-16 lead with 3:30 left to the break.
However, the Seminoles went crazy the rest of the period to climb to within one with a 14-0 run of their own, heading into the locker room at 31-30, Magnolia.
The lead changed hands several times in the third period, but a Monroe basket at the buzzer found its mark to push the visitors ahead 50-48 with eight minutes to go in regulation.
Huggins’ eight points, and several key ‘Nole turnovers, helped Magnolia build a six point lead with a little over a minute remaining in the game.
Jared Blatt finished with 18 points to lead Magnolia scorers. Huggins added 13 of his 15 markers in the second half, while Keller finished with a dozen tallies that included three triples.
Andrew Robinson, Josh Yost, and Jon Rine scored nine, eight, and seven points, respectively, while Matthew Sapp tallied two for Magnolia.
Robinson paced the Eagles with five assists and nine rebounds, while Huggins, Blatt, and Keller each hauled in six boards.