Eagles edge Dons
NEW MARTINSVILLE – With 54 percent if its offense sitting out of Wednesday’s regular-season finale, Magnolia turned to other avenues in its 57-54 victory against visiting Madonna.
Namely, Spencer Campbell and a balanced attack otherwise.
Sophomore sensation Preston Boswell missed the game nursing an injured hip. After scoring 101 points in the last three games, it appeared to be advantage Madonna.
Campbell picked up the slack, scoring 22 points, and four other players scored six or more points as Magnolia won its fifth-straight game.
Not that Madonna made it easy on Senior Night, in a game where Magnolia coach Dave Tallman started his five seniors – Eric Smith, Zach Willhoite, Logan Massey, Kevin Taylor and Nathan Dorig. Of those, Willhoite is the only starter.
It wasn’t the beginning that held the suspense, it was the end.
Magnolia (16-6) led at the half, 28-17, and 41-32 after three.
Slowly, Madonna (13-8) chipped away at the lead, with Nick Mazur hitting a pair of 3s and deuce to cut the lead to 53-50 with 1:40 left.
Campbell made a pair of free throws (he was 10-for-10 in the game at the foul line) but Mazur made two of three free throws to make it 55-52.
After Magnolia missed a pair of free throws, Joey Ewusiak hit a pair to make it a one-point game.
A turnover gave Magnolia the ball back and Ross Comis, the Blue Dons’ leading scorer, got the ball at the top of the key, drove the lane and put up a contested layup that rolled across the iron and fell to Campbell, who was immediately fouled.
He made both, making it a 3-point game. Comis then missed from 22 feet and time expired.
“We missed a lot of shots that we normally make,” Madonna coach George Vargo said. “We got the plays we wanted, but that’s the game of basketball. You make some, you miss some. They have an outstanding team. That’s a good win for Dave (Tallman). They won the game without their leading scorer, their best guard. But we’re going to be better from this. Magnolia had to hold on to win, we had to fight back to get in it. It’s a perfect game heading into postseason play – for both of us.”
In addition to Campbell’s 22, Mitch Winters had eight, Chase Miller and Willhoite (who fouled out with more than five minutes left) seven and Kyle Ritz six and six rebounds, Willhoite had 10 boards.
“This team has fought through so much adversity,” Tallman said. “That’s why I have so much confidence in them. Give Madonna credit, they got behind and fought back. I’m glad a quarter is eight minutes. If it had been nine, the outcome might have been different.”
Ritz and Willhoite did a good job on 7-foot Josh Martin, who had nine points and 12 rebounds.
“Kyle Ritz is an exceptional team player,” Tallman said. “He do anything we need him to do. It doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet. He took a charge that was huge. That’s how he plays.”
Comis led Madonna with 15 and Mazur had 14, 10 in the fourth quarter.
Madonna hosts Cameron and Magnolia hosts Hundred in sectional play-in games Saturday at 7 p.m.
Magnolia 57, Madonna 54
Madonna 6 11 15 22 – 54
Magnolia 16 12 13 16 – 57
MADONNA (13-8): Comis 6 1-2 15, Guio 3 0-0 6, Antinone 0 0-0 0, J. Ewusiak 0 6-6 6, T. Ewusiak 0 4-4 4, Bowser 0 0-0 0, Mazur 4 2-4 14, Jeter 0 0-0 0, Stakis 0 0-0 0, Martin 4 1-3 9. Totals: 17 17-20 54. 3-pointers: Mazur 3, Comis 2.
MAGNOLIA (16-6): Campbell 6 10-10 22, Miller 3 1-3 7, Blain 1 0-2 2, Smith 1 1-2 3, Winters 4 0-0 8, Willhoite 2 3-6 7, Massey 0 0-0 0, Ritz 3 0-0 6, Taylor 1 0-0 2, Doring 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 15-23 57.