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Lady Dragons Pull-out 46-41 Win Over Eagles

By Staff | Feb 21, 2018

Photo by Cris Jenkins The Magnolia Blue Eagles recently had their Senior Night festivities against Cameron. Pictured is the Lady Eagles’ lone senior, Logan Riggs, with her parents Moke and Linda Riggs.

On a night where Magnolia celebrated its lone senior, it was the senior leadership of visiting Cameron down the stretch that prevailed.

Cameron senior Kelsie Meintel fought through foul trouble to collect 11 rebounds in the second half, while classmate Courtney Walker tallied 10 points in the fourth quarter and fellow senior Autumn Gossett was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final four minutes of action as the Dragons erased a 13-point deficit to capture a 46-41 win over hosts, Magnolia on Feb. 15.

“It’s awesome to have those seniors who we have relied on all year to give us that leadership,” Cameron coach Roger Cain said.

“Autumn Gossett stepped up and made some key free throws down the stretch and I can’t ask for anything better when you get that leadership. They’ve been there before and they did a great job of stepping up in that moment.”

Meintel suffered her third foul late in the first half but played a smart, yet aggressive second half of basketball.

“We talked to her at halftime and said just make sure you’re being straight up and be patient with the process,” Cain said. “We told her to attack on the offensive end but just be smart on the defensive end. She was able to do that and it makes a big difference when you are able to keep her in the game, especially with their two post players, so we had to have her in the game.”

For the Blue Eagles (13-9), only one senior took the court as Logan Riggs was honored before the game but the youth of the team showed late in the contest.

“They are a mature team,” Magnolia coach Meredith Pilant said of Cameron. “They knew going down the stretch how to handle it and that is something we’ve been working on all season.

“We are getting there and maturing as we go, but I am hoping it all clicks in the postseason. We are the No. 1 seed in the section, so we are happy about that.”

With 3:32 remaining in the first half, the Blue Eagles held a 21-8 advantage and even limited the Dragons scoreless for a 7:28 span, in which the home team reeled off 11 consecutive points.

The Magnolia lead was 21-13 at the break but Cain reminded his team that it was perfectly capable of making a comeback.

“We knew they were giving it everything they had,” Cain said. “It was only an eight-point lead and we could battle back in this thing.

“We just weren’t doing the things we normally do offensively and we were getting rushed a little bit. We just needed to be patient offensively, lock down defensively and do a little better and we’ll be all right.”

He was right. Cameron (21-1) came out motivated as it scored the first 11 points of the third to grab a 24-21 edge. Magnolia did not score its initial point of the second half until the 1:48 mark and only netted five in the frame.

“Our offense just wasn’t there in the second half,” Pilant said. “You can’t do much when you only score five points in a quarter. That will hurt you, especially against a team like Cameron. But I am proud of our girls for playing with them.”

The Blue Eagles managed to tie the game late in the third but Gossett was fouled on a 3-point attempt at the buzzer and drained two of the three foul shots to put Cameron on top 28-26 heading to the final frame.

Walker took over the fourth quarter as she drilled three of the first four Cameron field goals as it extended its lead to 36-30.

The Eagles cut the lead back to 36-34 with 4:34 left in the game but that was as close at they got.

Cameron shot 15-for-23 from the charity stripe, while Magnolia was only 15 of 31. Another important stat was the 22 turnovers by the Magnolia offense.

It was a different Blue Eagles team in the first half as Kyndra Pilant recorded a double-double by halftime and finished the game with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Mady Winters turned in 14 points for Magnolia.

Walker scored a team-high 17 points in the win, Gossett and Jordyn Hughes each supplied eight points and Meintel garnered seven and 13 boards.

“That is a very good team we faced,” Cain said. “They gave us some fits earlier this season and we kind of owed them one after they got us at the buzzer last year.

“Our girls know there is a target on us now and we will get everybody’s best shot but we’re willing to take that.”

**

Eagles Hold On, Beat Blue Devils, 66-59

The Blue Eagles raced out to a 15-5 lead and held on for a 66-59 victory on Feb. 14 inside the MHS Gymnasium.

Two baskets by Mady Winters and one by Kyndra Pilant, with assists from Logan Riggs, Sierra Walker and Pilant, put Magnolia up 6-0 until Blue Devil lefty Olivia Muncy made a steal at halfcourt and went in for an easy bucket.

Winters sank two straight foul shots, as did the Blue Devils; Pilant and Winters knocked down back-to-back deuces, including a conventional three-point play for Winters, to give the hosts a 13-4 advantage that caused Beallsville to call a time-out with 3:47 showing on the clock.

Beallsville made one of two from the line before Pilant put back a miss for a 15-5 lead. However, a pair of Blue Devil triples, mixed in with a Walker and Pilant jumper, ended the first quarter scoring.

The Eagles started the second period on fire once more when, after a Riggs steal, Pilant dished off a nifty assist to Winters for the first score of the period. After another Walker steal, Riggs let loose a basket from beyond the arch, and after a pair of Blue Devil free throws, Kennedy Parsons sank a basket just inside the arc to bomb up the Blue Eagle lead to 24-14.

Muncy then sank a pair of freebies for the Blue Devils, but Parsons delivered once more from just inside the arc at the 3:30 mark in the second stanza.

Both teams finished the period with four points; that pushed the Magnolia advantage back to 31-20 at the half.

The Blue Devils scored three of the first four buckets, while Winters drained a pair of free throws and a deuce for Magnolia with the score now at 35-26.

The Magnolia lead was 47-34 with 37 seconds remaining in the third; however, Beallsville drained three free throws and a deuce to end the period, closing the gap at 47-39 heading into the final period of play.

The Blue Devils reached down and got as close as 61-59 with 20.8 seconds remaining. A pair of free throws, however, by Winters and Riggs – plus a deuce by Pilant – finished the scoring.

The Eagles made 9-of-11 free throws in the fourth period, with Winters 4-of-5 down the stretch.

Winters led all scorers with 31 points, that included 12-of-14 free throws, while Pilant followed with 18 points and a school record 27 rebounds, including 14 offensive boards. Pilant added six assists and five blocks.

In addition, Riggs tacked on eight points, including a three-ball, while dishing out seven assists. Parsons knocked in three baskets, while Walker and Lenica Grimm each sank a deuce.

Ashlie Louden netted 21 points, while Muncy and Dagan Hossman tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Eagles/Blue Devils coverage by Bruce Crawford