The Blue Eagles' Tyler Williamson and Leo Herrick each connected from downtown five times, but it wasn't quite enough to get past Steubenville Central Catholic Crusaders, 65-60, in the OVAC Consolation Pool Feb. 17 inside a sparse MHS Gymnasium.
Magnolia raced out to an 18-10 lead in the opening quarter, but the Crusaders forged back with a 17-7 run to grab a 27-25 halftime advantage.
The Crusaders pushed their lead to 45-35 with one quarter remaining. The Blue Eagles chipped away, with the help of the outside shooting of Williamson and Herrick from beyond the arc, to make it a game, but just ran out of time.
Williamson and Herrick tallied 24 and 23 points, respectively, including five baskets each from well beyond the arch.
Brooks Parsons contributed seven markers, while Jack Fruner and Nick Priem tallied four and two points, respectively.
AJ Conner tallied 21 points to pace the Crusaders, while Austin Fowkes tacked on 19 points, and Jake Dogger netted 11 points.
Eagles Late Rally Falls Short
Down 10 points with two minutes to go, the Magnolia Blue Eagles went on a 10-0 run with a Nick Priem three-ball to make it 52-52 with 20 seconds to go.
However, the Clay Battle Cee-Bees sank a deuce with just a second remaining. The Eagles last second shot rimmed off the back of the rim and Clay Battle gained a 54-52 win in Blacksville on Feb. 14. Magnolia senior Tyler Williamson opened up the game with a long bomb trey, but the Cee-Bees scored the next seven points before
Brooks Parsons stopped the bleeding with a deuce.
Clay-Battelle then knocked down a deuce, forcing Magnolia to take a timeout with the score at 9-5 with 3:05 left in the first period.
Clay-Battle wasn't down as it tacked on the next five points before Williamson pitched one the length of the court to freshman Jake
Gamble on a fast break for an easy bucket to cut their deficit in half 14-7.
However, the home team ended the scoring with a triple to take a 17-7 lead after one period of play. Early in the second period, the Big Blue quickly got a pair of scores as Williamson scored off a nice assist from Parsons, and Williamson returned the favor as he found Parsons under the bucket for another easy deuce to climb back into the game at 17-11. After a Cee-Bee bucket,
Williamson grabbed the rebound and took it coast-to-coast. However, the Cee-Bees would end the quarter on a 8-2 run to take a commanding 27-15 lead with them into the locker room at the half.
Clay-Battelle opened the third with a 6-2 run to open the third. However, the Eagles Priem sank a deuce and Williamson knocked in one of two free throws.
But the Killer Bees sank a deuce and Williamson started to heat up, sinking a three ball and a two to help shrink the Clay-Battelle lead to 35-25.
After a Cee-Bee long ball, Williamson and Peau Halahigano answered with a pair of long-range triple, and Priem followed up a made charity toss to narrow the gap to 38-32 by the third quarters end. Both teams traded buckets to open the final eight minutes of play, and after a Cee-Bee two, Peau drilled another triple to put the score now at 42-37.
Clay-Battelle, then added a deuce and a pair of free throws, but Williamson answered the bell with a two-point basket. Clay-Battelle followed that up with an old-fashioned three-point play to extend its lead back to double-digits at 49-39.
With the home team up by 10 with two minutes to play, the Eagles would then score 10 straight points to knot the game up at 52 with Priem and Parsons doing the scoring with 20 second left in regulation.
Clay-Battelle was trapped at the sidelines, but called a timeout before the five second call would come into effect with 10 seconds remaining. Coming out of the timeout, the Killer Bees got a man free for a deuce with seven seconds remaining. The Eagles had one last chance to send the game into overtime or win it with a three. Williamson looked to win it, but the ball bounced off the back of the rim, and the home team escaped with a hard-fought 54-52 victory.
Williamson paced the Eagles with 20 points, including a trio of long bonus bombs, while Parsons and Priem each tallied a dozen markers. Halahigano came off the bench to hit a pair of three, while Gamble netted a deuce to end the Blue Eagle scoring.
Magnolia/Clay-Battelle Coverage by R.J. Goode and Bruce Crawford.