Rider Girls Outlast Lady Eagles, 47-46
Clank, clank, clank. What makes that sound? Well, it was balls bouncing off the rim at the HammerDome Feb. 24 in the West Virginia Class AA Region I, Section I opener between the Magnolia Lady Eagles and the Weirton Red Riders.
Both the Eagles and the Riders were hitting the rim a plethora of times. Sixty-nine attempts from the floor plus 12 shots at the charity line went awry in Magnolia’s 47-46 loss to Weir.
The Eagles missed 32 chances, while the Riders missed 37, but it was the turnovers that proved to be the deciding factor in the loss for the Lady Eagles. The biggest miscue came late in the fourth period with Magnolia on top by one with 38 seconds to go. Padyn Ludewig was fouled for a chance to extend the Blue lead, but her attempt hit the rim and bounced off.
Magnolia fell behind in the opening period as nerves were showing on both sides of the ball for both teams, but Weir jolted out to a 14-4 lead in the first eight minutes of play.
The Eagles responded with a 13-point second period to narrow the gap on a basket by Ludewig at the buzzer.
The Lady Eagles took charge in the third period and outscored the Riders 17-11 to even the contest at 37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Although the Eagles were ahead early in the frame, the Riders wrestled control with a six-point lead late in the game. However, clutch shooting by Corinne Murdock, Lindsay Riggs, Abby Harlan, and Ludewig gave the Eagles the lead once more to set up the final seconds.
A missed Rider foul shot was nailed by Riggs – her 10th board of the game – who dished it off to Ludewig who was being swarmed by defenders looking to foul.
But, instead of holding onto the ball, Ludewig tried to push it down the floor where it was hijacked by the Riders, who then converted it to the game-winning basket with 1.1 second left in the game.
Magnolia Head Coach Dave Chapman called a quick time out to set up a play. However, a desperation shot by Ludewig fell a little short at the final buzzer.
“Its easy to say why don’t you hold the ball, but these are high school kids,” said Chapman. “We had five or six seconds remaining on the clock and we didn’t need to pass it. I’m at a loss for words. You play well and play that hard and come down to that, that’s a tough way to end your season.
“We are young and we have a lot of kids coming back next season and hopefully with a good attitude, we will be okay and be ready to come back strong next year. But, still it’s going to be a tough one to get over.”
Ludewig and Murdock evenly divided 30 markers, while Riggs followed with 11 to pace the Lady Eagles. Harlan netted three for the Eagles, while Dallas Mullett netted a deuce.
The Eagles lose Riggs, Murdock, and Tincy Haught to graduation this year, but return a swarm of underclassmen, including Ludewig.