Eagles Lose First Game Of The Season, 65-58
Jared Blatt hit a milestone when he swished in a two with 2:40 to go in the third quarter Saturday night for his 1,000 career points. However, it was not enough, as the Ravenswood Red Devils handed the Magnolia Blue Eagles their first loss of the season, 65-58, Jan. 30, at the HammerDome in the finale of the first-ever Rotary Class AA Regional Challenge.
After a chilling Nation Anthem performance by Magnolia freshman Sean Maxwell on his trumpet, Blatt would score five of the first seven Blue Eagle points of the game to give the Eagles an early lead. Josh Yost would then knock in a deuce that forced Red Devils Coach Mike Price to burn an early timeout with 6:21 to go in the first.
The Eagles scored the next six points to take a 13-2 lead, but the Red Devils finished the quarter on a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 15-9, Eagles, after one period of play.
After a Yost bucket early in the second period, the Devils tallied the next eight points to knot the game at 17. The Red Devil rally forced Magnolia Coach Dave Tallman to take a timeout with 5:55 to go in the second frame.
When play resumed, Andy Huggins scored with a three-pointer to regain the Magnolia lead. Matt “Slick” Sapp would then knock in a long range bomb, while Mark Winters connected on a free throw. Junior Jordan Moore then swished the cords from beyond the arc and added a charity toss for good measure, increasing the Eagle advantage by 11 points.
The Devils netted a long range bomb, but Blatt hit the offensive glass with an easy deuce. The Devils knocked in a pair of free throws, but Moore once more connected from downtown to give the Eagles a 33-24 upper hand after a Devil deuce beat the buzzer.
At halftime of the game, the Marshall County Dribble Team, coached by Dave Gardino of Moundsville and captained by New Martinsville sixth grader Grace Berisford, put on an amazing display of basketball talent to entertain the packed house.
Winters started the third period the same way he started the game, with a deuce. But, the Devils would tally the next six points that forced Tallman to call a timeout.
But, the Devils tallied eight of the next 11 points to tie the game up at 38. Blatt then knocked down a jumper to give him 1,000 career points – and retake a Magnolia lead – with 2:40 to go in the third.
Ravenswood netted a long range basket to give them their first lead of the game. Winters quickly answered with a deuce, but the Devils scored four of the last six points in the third quarter to take a 45-44 lead heading into the fourth.
The Devils netted a couple of charity tosses, but Blatt answered with a deuce. The Devils would then swish the cords from beyond the arc and the teams would split the next eight points evenly to make the score 54-50 Devils.
After a pair of Ravenswood free throws, Huggins scored inside and, after another Devil bucket, Winters tallied the next four points to make the score 58-56.
Late in the game, Ravenswood would can another charity toss, but Winters answered with a deuce to pull Magnolia to within a point with 44 seconds left in the game.
Magnolia took a time out. But, instead of something good happening, the Devils would ice the game with six more free throws to earn the win, 65-58.
Blatt led the charge with 17 points, seven rebounds, and three blocked shots, while Winters netted 13 points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Moore came off the bench to tally 10 points, including three baskets from beyond the arc. Huggins was held to seven markers and four rebounds, but had a team high of three steals. Yost finished with six points, while Sapp managed only five points before fouling out midway into the fourth period.
Magnolia was 20-37 from the floor for 57 percent and was 16-20 inside the arc. But, the Blue made only 4-17 from beyond the arc. The big difference was that Magnolia went to the charity stripe 11 times, making six, while Ravenswood strutted to the line 29 times, making all but one.
It was a tear-jerker for the Blue Eagles, but, like former Green Bay Packer Head Coach Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.”
We will find out this week, as the Blue Eagles have games with Monroe Central, Brooke, and Lincoln, all on the road. They will then tangle with Wheeling Central, Weir, and Oak Glen before the OVAC Championships.
In the opener of the Magnolia Rotary Challenge, Clay Owings led the Oak Glen Golden Bears to a 76-41 win over the Ritchie County Rebels.
In the second game of the day, Shawn Burns tallied 20 points, including four baskets from beyond the arc, to lead the Weir Red Riders past the Point Pleasant Big Blacks, 84-49.
In the third game of the night, Tyler Consolidated’s Corey Lowe netted 27 points, including seven baskets from beyond the arc, while the duo of Dustin Slider and Alex Jones combined to net 40 points to help lead the Silver Knights to a convincing 95-75 win over the Roane County Red Raiders.