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Eagles Earn Comeback Win Over Wildcats

By Staff | Jan 25, 2017

Photos by Bruce Crawford The Eagles’ Peau Halahingano came off the Blue Eagle bench to light one of two he made from beyond the arch, defending is the ‘Cats Matt Saxson.

Magnolia coach Dave Tallman can’t figure it out.

Sure he has a young team that is going to go through some growing pains, but slow starts have been a bugaboo all season long.

That trend continued Friday against Paden City as the Blue Eagles fell behind 12-2 to begin the game. But in what he hopes can be a building block for the rest of the season, Magnolia stormed back and held off the Wildcats in a back-and-forth fourth quarter to claim a 57-53 victory in a battle of Wetzel County rivals at Magnolia High School.

“We have been doing it all year,” Tallman said. “We have five new starters and I just cannot believe how bad we play early. I don’t know if we are nervous but we spot every team we play. But we work it out and we played great basketball to win.”

After trailing 14-7 after one, Magnolia won the second quarter, 20-6, including a 11-3 run to take its first lead.

Magnolia (5-7) led by as many as 12 in the third quarter before Paden City (4-7) started to chip away.

The Wildcats cut the deficit to four entering the final eight minutes.

Paden City’s Trey Slider hit his fourth 3-pointer to put Paden City back in front for the first time since early in the second quarter at 41-40.

Magnolia didn’t waste time in retaking the lead as Brooks Parsons scored to put the Blue Eagles back in front.

Despite never trailing again, Magnolia had a hard time putting Paden City away.

Matt Saxson scored on a backdoor layup to tie it at 46-46.

On the next trip up the floor, Parsons put Magnolia back on top 49-46 with a basket and a free throw.

Paden City answered with a Hayden Hizer 3-pointer with 2:01 on the clock.

After a Leo Herrick basket put Magnolia in front again, Hizer hit two free throws to make it 51-51 with 1:41 to go.

Magnolia’s Tyler Williamson answered with another basket inside as Magnolia went up 53-51 with 1:02 to go.

On the other end, Hizer was fouled. Hizer went 8 of 10 from the free-throw line in the game, but this is where his two misses came. Heasley was able to rebound the second miss but the Wildcats, who made 12 3-pointers, couldn’t get Slider’s long attempt to fall.

“(Hizer), look what he does for us. He takes it out, brings it down the floor and gets us our offense and guards their toughest guy,” Paden City coach Fred King said. “He has made some big shots, (Friday) he didn’t make those and I am confident he will make the next ones. I have seen him put 10 straight in one night and help us win a big game. It was unfortunate.”

Leo Herrick grabbed the rebound and was fouled.

Herrick hit all four of his free throws down the stretch to seal a victory.

“Our free throws have been another problem,” Tallman said. “I am real pleased with the effort. This is a big game for us because it was a sectional seeding game for us. This puts us in a pretty good position if we can keep getting better.

“The other night we were down to Valley and found a way to come back and win. They are starting to get it a little bit and we have improved from our first day of practice until now a great deal. If we can get that first quarter straightened out, I think we can compete with anybody.”

Despite the loss, King was glowing about his kids’ effort.

“I am very proud of our kids,” King said. “We did everything right until three straight turnovers in the first half where they went on a big run and that is when we lost the momentum.

“The kind of mistakes we made were aggressive, ‘I’m trying to win, Coach’ mistakes and you cannot ask for anything more than that. I can live with those kind of mistakes. They are trying to make plays. When you are trying to make plays and you commit turnovers, that is OK with me. Sometimes we forced a couple shots, but we made a lot of them and I have praise for them, especially Hayden and Aaron. There are good players in the valley, but I wouldn’t take any of them over those two.”

Parsons paced Magnolia with 18 points, while Williamson followed with 11 points. Herrick dropped in 10 markers, while Peau Halahingano came off the bench to drill a pair of three-point bonus bombs. Eli Nice contributed five markers off the bench, while Nick Priem and Jack Fruner each posted four markers for all the Blue Eagle scoring.

Heasley hit five three-pointers on his way to a 20 point night to lead all-scorers, while Hizer finished with 16 points, that included a pair of long-balls. Slider came off the bench to drill all 12 of his points from beyond the arch, while Matt Saxson tallied five points that included a three-pointer.

These two will get to do it again Jan. 31 inside the Bob Burton Gymnasium with junior varsity tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m. with varsity to follow 20 minutes afterwards.

Bruce Crawford contributed to this story


Trinity Warriors Nip Eagles, 49-44

Morgantown Trinity raced out to a 16-2 lead, but Magnolia wasn’t able to overcome the slow start, and fell a little short 49-44 to the Trinity Christian Warriors Jan. 19 at Magnolia High School.

The Warriors jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead before the Blue Eagles’ Brooks Parsons made a nice baseline move to score the Eagles’ first basket. Trinity then scored the next nine points to take a 16-2 late first quarter lead.

Magnolia’s Jake Fruner hit a deuce and sank one of two free throws to end the scoring in the first, 16-5, Trinity after one period of play.

The Eagles then began chipping away at the Trinity lead in the second quarter with a 8-0 run. With Tyler Williamson scoring six of his 13 points during the run, and pulled to within three points with 4:25 to go in the first half, but the Warriors sank a deuce to stop the bleeding.

However, the Eagles’ Nick Priem sank a deuce and Leo Herrick tickled the twine from beyond the arch to tie things up at 18. The Warriors would score the final four points of the quarter to take a 22-18 lead heading into the half.

To start the third period, Williamson netted two quick buckets for Magnolia to knot things up again at 22 off a steal and nice assist by Priem. Parsons got a steal at mid-court and took it in for a layup to give the Eagles there first lead of the game at 24-22 early in the third.

However, the Warriors quickly tied the game back up at 24-24 before Herrick quickly answered with a deuce of his own to get the lead back. But, the Warriors would score the next nine points to grab a 33-26 advantage.

Parsons added two more baskets followed by a Trinity deuce to fall behind 35-30. After a Trinity deuce, Priem drilled a three to end the scoring in the third with the guests up 37-33 after three.

Williamson scored a two-pointer off a Fruner steal to start the fourth, but Trinity went on a 6-0 run a few moments later to take a 46-39 lead. Williamson sank a free throw with under a minute to go and the score was 46-40, and Parsons would later close the game out with a pair of buckets to end the scoring for the Eagles, at 49-44 in favor of Trinity.

Parsons paced the Blue Eagles with 16 points, while Williamson followed with 13 points. Herrick chipped in with seven markers, while Priem posted five points, that included a three-ball and Fruner three-points.

Trinity coverage by R.J. Goode, for the Wetzel Chronicle. Bruce Crawford also contributed to the story.