Magnolia Boys Looking To Return to Form in ’19-20
After making it to the state tournament six out of eight times from 2010-2017, the Magnolia Blue Eagles basketball team hasn’t made the trip down state since. However with the majority of their team back from last year, and a hard-working off season in which they played almost 50 games during the summer and fall leagues, the Eagles will look to make a run back to Charleston..
With the returning players and some key additions, the Blue Eagles look to be a tough contender.
Magnolia returns four players who saw time as starters last season. Leading the way will be 6-2, 175 lb senior point guard Jake Gamble along with 6-3, 205 lb senior Trenton Schedlhood. Also back are 6-5, 185 lb junior center Gavin Postlethwait, and 5-11, 140 pound sophomore shooter Trevor Williamson, both who were starters and have improved their game.
One of those key additions to the Blue Eagles is a senior transfer Qwailei “Q” Turner a 6-3, 195 lb forward. Blue Eagles Head Coach Dave Tallman can only smile.
Tallman said about Turner “The basketball gods smiled on us.” Turner transferred in at the middle of October, and at 6-3, he has great size and is very athletic. He along ,with junior Levi Cecil 5-10 140 lbs. who saw some varsity time last season, both are hoping to crack the starting five.
Other players looking to contribute to the varsity team will be junior Chase Glover 6-1, 175 lbs who had perfect attendance during summer workouts, and sophomore Damon Shimp 6-2, 180 lbs. who also saw some varsity action last year. Rounding out the varsity squad looks to be a pair of freshman in Brendan Trowbridge 5-7, 128 lbs and Brayden Vargo 5-7, 125 lbs.
Offensively, the Eagles look to move Gamble from the point guard to the small forward this season. Tallman believes the change will help the team. Gamble is one of those players who is not afraid to take the ball to the hoop rather than shoot a three pointer.
Last season he averaged 16-points, 4-assist and 6-rebounds a game, while Postlethwait, Schelbelhood and Turner will be the bigs inside. Both Postlethwait and Schelbelhood averaged 6-points and 5
rebounds a game last year. Postlethwait is also a great leaper who swatted away 3-blocks a game.
The guard positions will be manned by Williamson and Cecil. Williamson improved his shooting ability even more over the off-season. As a freshman he averaged 10-points, 2-assists and 3-rebounds, while Cecil spent a lot of the off season improving his game and should see a lot of minutes..
“The biggest thing for this team, is trust themselves and their teammates to improve their confidence,” said coachTallman.”This team has the potential to rebound like a Bob Huggins WVU basketball team. This team has the potential to be a very good offensive team. Defensively we needed to work on stopping the ball in transition.”
Rich Williamson and newly hired assistant coach Mark Winters ran the summer league for Tallman, and with the addition of former Blue Eagle standout Kyle Ritz as the strength coach most of the players put on some extra musle.
The rest of the team is made up of junior Alex Norton 6-2, 175 lbs, sophomores Drew Clegg 5-9, 166 lbs, Austin Beverlin 5-11, 130 lbs and Sam Mensore 5-10, 140 lbs. Freshman on the team are Campbell Tomas 5-11, 158 lbs and Trent Moore 5-6, 146 lbs.
The Eagles opened up their season last night at River will travel to Wheeling WesBanco Arena Dec. 13 to play in the Sam Andy Basketball Classic against the Cameron Dragons at 8:30 pm.