Eagles Upend Dragons
WHEELING – The third annual Sam Andy Classic was capped off on Friday night with a dandy between Magnolia and Cameron.
The Blue Eagles and Dragons went back-and-forth all night but finally in the fourth quarter, it was Magnolia that made the plays when it mattered most on its way to a 44-37 victory inside WesBanco Arena.
“First of all, give Cameron a lot of credit,” Magnolia coach Dave Tallman said. “They played extremely hard and they moved their home game so we could play here in this and I really appreciate that.
“Our team is a work in progress. We really punctuate half-court defense. Our half-court offense is sometimes our best defense but I thought in the second half we attacked them a little bit better and used our athleticism and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
That athleticism didn’t take long to see.
Newcomer Qwailei Turner – a transfer from South Charleston – quickly left his imprint on the game with an emphatic dunk for the game’s first bucket.
He led all scorers with 17 points.
“What’s good about Q is that he is very unselfish,” Tallman said. “He plays hard and the team has really accepted him but his real strength is that he can play any position.
“He’s a very intelligent ballplayer. He might know every position on the floor, which makes us a lot more universal.”
Another crucial point in the game came midway through the fourth when Cameron guard Zane Clutter fouled out with his team trailing by two.
Magnolia (2-0) proceeded to reel off seven consecutive points, including a three-point play by Turner, who got the hoop and the harm, to extend its lead to 39-30 with 3:24 remaining.
“Zane, Jessop (Broughton) and Garrett (Scott) were in foul trouble and that’s always a concern,” Cameron coach Tom Hart said.
“We basically played 10 guys (Friday) but I thought it was good experience for them to play up here in a good atmosphere.”
The Dragons (1-1) fought back to within 42-37 with 42 seconds to play but Gavin Postlethwait rocked the rim for his second dunk of the night to remove all doubt.
Jake Gamble also inserted his presence with a 12-point night, much of which came inside the paint.
“Our bigs are getting better,” Tallman said. “Strength was a difference in the game. Kyle Ritz, who plays at West Liberty, really worked with the kids this summer on that and it showed.
“Our bench played well, too. (Levi) Cecil came in and played good ball when we needed him to and Damon Shimp and Chase Glover came in and created some full-court pressure and helped us out.”
Both teams swapped one-point leads after each of the first three frames with Magnolia leading 8-7 after one, Cameron holding on to an 18-17 edge at the half and the Blue Eagles back in front 28-27 after three.
“It was a good defensive game,” Hart said.
“Magnolia played good defense. I thought we played really well. We kind of mixed it up a little bit.
“I thought we played solid defense for the most part and I thought we blocked out and rebounded fairly well, too.
“Magnolia has a nice team and they are a very good offensive rebounding team.
“We got some nice looks at the basket and were attacking the rim and got some offensive rebounds ourselves. We just didn’t make any putbacks and we had a series of turnovers in the second half that really hurt us and they were able to spread it out.”
Broughton paced Cameron with 14 points, while Clutter garnered nine and Scott chipped in with eight.