Ritchie County Rebels Downs Shorthanded Magnolia Blue Eagles
Number three seed Ritchie County took advantage of number two seed Magnolia on Tuesday night, April 20, in New Martinsville to get revenge for an early season loss to the Blue Eagles. Magnolia was playing shorthanded due to several players in quarantine, and the result was a 70-41 win for the visitors in a Section One Region One semi-final match up.
The Blue Eagles hit the first two points of the game on a short jumper by Trevor Williamson but the lead was short lived as the Rebels gained a 6-4 lead.
Magnolia took the lead one more time on a 3-pointer by Williamson, but Ritchie answered back and the visitors went up12-9 at the end of the first period. Williamson had all nine of the Blue Eagle first quarter points, but only hit four more the rest of the way as the vistiors tightened up on defense and took a 30-20 lead into the break.
“We were happy that we had the opportunity to play because we didn’t know,” Magnolia coach Dave Tallman said. “These kids didn’t practice for a week and we only had eight kids. We coached as hard as we can and they played as hard as they could. Then we were just a victim of COVID like a lot of people have been.”
Ritchie County went on a 17-2 run late in the first quarter and into the second frame before the Blue Eagles could find any fire power.
The Eagles countered with the long ball as freshman Hayden Pyles hit two straight to make it 25-17.
Ritchie hit for three points and then Magnolia senior Chase Glover added one from beyond the arc to pull the home team to within eight at 28-20. However that was as close as they would get as the Rebels came out of the locker room and won the third quarter huge 20-4 to put the game out of reach.
“First of all Ritchie has a good team. We thought our magic number was under 40 points,” Tallman said. “But after they got the lead, we had to come out and we have some makers, but we just ran out of gas. I thought we played hard the whole time. I wish Ritchie nothing but the best. They were the better team (Tuesday). I feel really bad for my seniors Gavin Postlethwait and Levi Cecil who didn’t get the opportunity to play in this game. Everyone in the locker room was committed to them to try and win to give them another opportunity, but it just didn’t work out.”
Leading the way for Magnolia was Pyles with a team high 16 points. Glover playing his last game for the Blue Eagles netted five points including his long 3-pointer. Ritchie Had two players reach twin figures with McKinney hitting for a game high 21 points and Haught adding 16.
Magnolia coach Tallman said, “We have a host of young talent , I think they learned quickly and on the fly. We started three freshmen and we’ll work our butts off in the off season and take it from there.”