From My View For March 18
I got to watch the final 5-minutes of the third period and all the fourth quarter of the Magnolia and Cameron WVSSAC Class-1A Region I Co-Championship Wednesday evening after our churches bible study finished.
I listened to the coverage of Brian Croasmun from our radio station Power County 104, and I heard him say the Jake Gamble tried to return from an ankle injury suffered in the second quarter and went down and couldn’t return and play any more.
Gamble is a warrior in any sporting event he is in, and if he had anything to say about it, he wanted back in. He did, but the MHS Coaching staff would not hear anything about it, he was done for the night.
After hearing he was taken to the home locker room, the remaining players ran back to begin play without their leader Jake Gamble. The standing-room crowd mixed with the visiting Cameron Dragons, and the ever-faithful MHS crowd gave a warm felt ovation to him and I could hear the two-communities wishing the young man a quick recovery.
After waiting just inside the Magnolia Blue Eagles Gymnasium door to get a seat after the third period ended and trying to find a seat to watch the final, I got a seat right behind the Wheeling Intelligencer Sports Writer Cody Tomer at the scoring table.
After getting briefed what I had missed in the first half, I quickly put myself in a sports writer mode. The first thing I saw was the amazing crowd that Cameron and Magnolia brought to the championship Co-Title game.
I thought the crowd in the Region I Section II championship was huge, but this game was the most I’ve seen in my 18-years covering Magnolia basketball. I thought the Magnolia Student body was huge, but this game brought more MHS high school students to the game than I have ever saw. Congrats MHS.
Looking around during a time-out, I saw nothing but outstanding sportsmanship by both communities, and their student body fans.
And.. looking down the MHS Bench there was Gamble supporting his team in every way. I knew it was eating at him to go in and give more, it just wasn’t to be on this night.
Back to the game, I saw 5-Blue Eagles players on the court playing their hearts out. The duo of sophomore Devil-killer Trevor Williamson and Levi Cecil controlled the game with their ball handling, along with the play of their lone senior on the floor Trenton Scheibelhood. Then their was freshman Campbell Toman, junior Chase Glover and Damion Shrimp subbing in when junior Gavin Postlethwait fouled out of the game.
Putting on his captains hat, Trenton’s leadership and play stepped it up and I was getting goose-bumps from the emotion these boys were giving, it was real. I thought to myself after all these boys had gone through to get past St Marys, they brought even more after their leader went down.
After their big lead evaporated, Trevor kissed another rainbow swish through the net over a very good Cameron defender, and the Eagles were on their way. With Williamson ball-handling and Cecil dead-eye free-throw shooting where he made 7-11 of his points in the second half in a 11-13 shooting night from the free throw line. Also Williamson made some clutch shooting from the charity stripe along with Toman’s rebound put-back and free throws.
Then there was Scheibelhood who hauled in big rebounds down the stretch as well as picking off a Cameron pass, that played dividends with 2-made free throws by Cecil.
The Dragons fought the good fight, but it was the will of a team captain that went down and all the other things they were going through just in the sectional semi-final against the Blue Devils.
It was a joy to watch, as I left the writing to my partner in crime Ed Parsons to write since I wouldn’t be there for the whole game. I know he would do a good job, I just wanted to make sure somebody local was going to write the story.
I know that Cody would write up a good story, but I didn’t want the story to be put in both the Wheeling and our local paper. They have done me a great service covering some games since I’m only part time, and I thank the other sports writer at Wheeling and Times Leader for it.
Now that it is over, the planning of covering the state tournament begins, well at least I hope. As you know, there have been many events canceled or played without a crowd, because of the Coronavirus, the state tournament next week is up in the air. I hope all is good and the state tournament will be played, and Thursday at 1 pm the game against the second seed Charleston Catholic will be played and all these loyal MHS fans can continue this ride all the way to the WVSSAC state finals.