Big Blue Heading To Regional Co-Finals
Magnolia Blue Eagle sophomore Mark “Special K” Winters dropped in 21 of his game-high 30 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, blocked three shots, and made two steals to lead Magnolia to a 55-49 victory March 4 at the HammerDome, where they claimed their first sectional title since 2007.
The teams traded baskets early on, before a Winters’ deuce and a Matt Sapp threeball put the host up 10-5. However, the Riders came storming back and got the next six points to go up 11-10. A bucket by the Riders’ Harley Mills was sandwiched between deuces from Winters and junior Nick Blatt to put the Eagles up 14-13 late in the first period.
However the Riders netted an old-fashioned three-point play with a basket and a foul shot to put the guests up 16-14 after one. The teams traded buckets early in the second to make the score 18-16, Weir. The Riders got a three-point play and a free throw to go up 22-16.
Winters hit a deuce, but the Riders answered with a triple to go up 25-18. Winters then swished a free throw to make the score 25-19. A Jason Keller twoball was sandwiched between two Rider buckets. Jordan Moore hit a triple just before the half to make the score 29-24, Red Riders.
Winters came out in the third quarter on fire and could not be stopped, swishing the first four points of the half to make the score 29-28. After a Rider two and another Moore triple, the score was tied at 31-31. It was then back inside to the Mark Winters Show. He then scored the next four points to put the Eagles up 35-31.
With 2:32 to go in the third frame, Weir was forced to call a time out as they saw a five-point halftime lead fold into a four-point deficit in a little over four minutes of play. Winters hit another deuce, but the Riders got a triple to finish the scoring and leave it in Magnolia’s favor, 37-34 Eagles after three.
It was all Eagles in the fourth quarter. The Big Blue outscored Weir 13-5 and out-rebounded them as well, 13-2. Two sophomores came up huge in the third quarter, with Winters laying in 10 points and fellow sophomore Stephen Rogalski grabbing six off the glass.
After a Keller two and a Moore deuce, assisted by Winters, Magnolia was in the lead 41-34 early in the fourth. The Riders got a deuce, but then it was back to Winters as he scored the next seven points to put the hosts up by 12 at 48-36. After a Riders’ deuce, Sapp and Winters each knocked down a pair of free throws to put the hosts up 52-38. But, Weir was not going away easily as they closed the gap with an 11-2 run to make the score a lot closer then it seemed. But, it was too little too late and the Eagles prevailed 55-49.
Winters had a game-high 30 points and took down 10 rebounds for a double-double, to lead the way offensively, while Moore followed with eight points and hauled in 11 rebounds. Sapp posted six markers and added five assists and a game-high six steals. Keller only netted five points, but played outstanding defense on the Riders’ top gun, Freddie Jones. Blatt contributed four points and Rogalski tallied two points and grabbed seven rebounds.
With the win, the Eagles will get to host Ravenswood in the regional co-final tonight at 7 p.m.
Advance ticket prices for tonight’s regional basketball game between Magnolia and Ravenswood will be available today from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults. All tickets will be $7 at the gate