The Eagles' Tyler Williamson picked up a Brooks Parsons deflection and scored the game-winning basket, with two seconds left, to lift Magnolia to a 49-47 come-from-behind victory in the Region I, Section II Championship March 3 in Tyler Consolidated's Gymnasium.
Williamson knotted the game at 47-47 with one minute remaining, before cashing in on a St Marys turnover for the clincher that was their only lead since 12-11, with 1:30 left in the opening stanza.
"This feels excellent," said Williamson after the game. "On the last play, we were just trying to get a steal and a bucket, and we did it. Now we get to go to regionals and try to beat Madonna to the state tournament."
Photo by Bruce Crawford
The Magnolia Boys basketball team was excited after winning the WVSSAC Class-A Region I, Section II championship.
Brooks Parsons added, "Our team played great, and it felt good to put the free throw in. We got some crucial stops at the end of the game, and we were happy to come out of the game with a win."
Magnolia Head Coach Dave Tallman also added, "Our guys just understood the situation. They have been working their tails off all year, and we finally played to our potential.
"We were patient offensively, we took care of the ball and defensively we contested every shot."
The opening period started with a Blue Devil deuce, but Williamson knocked down a triple and a two-pointer to grab a 5-4 lead after another St Mary's score.
However, Leo Herrick tickled the twine from beyond the arc, mixed in after another Devil deuce with another two-pointer to double up St Marys, 10-5, midway through the opening period.
St. Marys scored two more baskets before Williamson sank a jumper inside the three-point line to stop the bleeding, but the Devils went on a 7-0 run to get bragging rights after one period of play with the Devils in front, 16-12.
Williamson and Herrick scored all 12 of the Eagles points, while Sam Kincaid and Wil Billeter did most of the damage for St. Marys.
St. Marys opened the second stanza with a two-pointer, but Nick Priem sank his only score of the night from the free thrown line, and Herrick followed with a pair of two-pointers, that forced a timeout by the Blue Devils Head Coach Barnie Barnhart.
After the break, the Devils sank a triple, but Magnolia's Williamson swished a pair from the charity line. After another St Marys deuce, Jake Fruner sank one of two freebies, while Herrick picked-pocketed a Devil opponent and scored a conventional three-point play to even the contest at 23 at the 2:22 mark.
However, it was quickly erased with a Blue Devil 9-0 run to hold a 32-23 lead at intermission. Herrick paced the Big Blue with seven points, while Kincaid netted six points to lead St Marys.
"We have come from behind before," said Herrick after the game. "I just remember those games and how we did it, and just went with the flow. We just kept fighting and Tyler (Williamson) made a great layup at the end to win us the game. This team never gives up and it feels great to win the sectional."
Magnolia continued to fight with the heart of a champion in the second half with Herrick starting the comeback with a long-range bonus bomb, and the Eagles' defense held the 19-4 Blue Devils to only nine points, while the Eagles tallied 11 to pull within seven points with one period to go.
Magnolia opened the fourth period with a 7-2 run with Parsons cashing in on four of the seven to cut the Blue Devil lead to 43-41 with 4:47 left in regulation.
The Devils fought back with a small 4-0 run to push their advantage back to six points, before Herrick answered with four consecutive points before putting the finishing touches on their 8-0 run to finish the game.
"This is huge for the program," Tallman said. "We are going to the regional, and this win means Weirton Madonna has to come to our house."
Magnolia scored two more baskets than St. Marys and two more made free throws, but the Devils made two more triples than Magnolia, and out-rebounded the Eagles 26-22. Meanwhile, St. Marys only had five turnovers in the game, and Magnolia had seven.
"We didn't box out well enough," said Tallman. "I think that kept the Blue Devils in the game because they got a lot of second chance shots. The Kincaid and Billeter kids are great players, but it was a great win for us."
Kincaide and Billeter paced St. Marys with 20 and 13 points, respectively.
For Magnolia, Herrick led all-scorers with 21 points, while Williamson netted 15 points, including the game-tieing deuce and the game-winner lay-up, while dishing off six assists to pace the Blue and Gold.
In addition, Parsons scored six points, while hauling in a game-high 13 rebounds. Fruner tallied four markers, while Nice finished with a basket, and Priem netted a free throw.
Magnolia must beat Weirton Madonna Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. inside the MHS HammerDome, while St. Marys will have to travel up the river to beat the defending state champions (Wheeling Central) to be able to make the state tournament next week.
Eagles Move On In Section Semi-Final Thriller
Magnolia's Brooks Parsons sank the game-winner from the charity stripe with 6.7 seconds remaining to lead Magnolia to a 40-39 come-from-behind victory Feb. 28 in the Region I, Section II semifinals inside a packed Tyler Consolidated Gymnasium.
The Eagles' Tyler Williamson gave the Eagles the lead at 39-38 on a off-balanced jumper with 20.4 seconds remaining in regulation. After a Paden City timeout, the Wildcats was fouled shortly after the ball was in-bounded. The Wildcats were 8-9 from the free throw line at this point and it looked dim for the Eagles.
But the Wildcats missed the front end of a one-in-one and Magnolia's Brooks Parsons was fouled on the rebound. He calmly sank
the first to give the Eagles a two points lead. However, Parsons stepped across the line on his second try, that gave Paden City a chance to tie it or win it with 6.7 seconds left on a slow moving clock.
The Wildcats' Trey Slider was fouled with 5.5 on the clock and calmly sank the first to pull the 'Cats to within a point. However, his second try went in-and-out and Parsons was quickly fouled on the rebound with 4.1 left in the game.
Parsons would miss both tries on a double-bonus attempt to give Paden City another chance. However, the Eagles' defense came up big, and the Wildcats couldn't get a shot off as time expired.
Williamson opened the game with a two-pointer, but the 'Cats Aaron Heasley got away from the Eagles' Jake Fruner off a nice pick by Anthony Newman and knocked one down from beyond the arch to give Paden City a 3-2 lead.
Williamson stole the ball and went the length of the court for a snow-bird that gave Magnolia back the lead at 4-3.
There were no points scored as their was a lid on both baskets until the 2:22 mark when Heasley scored a deuce to give them back the lead at 5-4.
Magnolia's Leo Herrick sank one of two freebies and cashed one in off a rebound for a two-pointer to end period one with the Eagles on top, 7-5.
Slider opened the second stanza with a pair of free throws for Paden City, but Herrick followed with a deuce for the Big Blue. The Wildcats Hayden Hizer knocked one down from beyond the arch, but the Eagles Peau Halahingano answered with one of his own from the corner to give the Eagles the lead.
Hizer and Parsons each sank a deuce, before Heasley and Mat Saxson ended the half with foul shots to give the Wildcats a 15-14 advantage at the break.
Herrick scored the first five points to open the second half, but Heasley followed with four points to tie the game. Herrick sank a deuce, before Paden City went on a 11-3 run to retake the lead at 30-24. Williamson and Heasley ended the third period scoring, with the 'Cats on top, 32-26.
Williamson and Herrick opened the fourth with seven straight points to pull to with a point at 33-32. But Hizer and Slider each tickled the twine from long distance to push their lead back to 38-33.
Herrick followed with a basket, and Magnolia Head Coach Dave Tallman called a tine-out with Paden City still on top, 38-35 with 1:55 left in regulation.
After a pair of misses at the free throw line, Williamson sank a two-pointer to pull to within one with 55.8 second left on the clock.
"That's cool," said Williamson after the game about the way the game was ended. "We must now get ready to play Friday."
The Wildcats took the end-bounds pass and would commit a offensive foul to give the ball back to Magnolia with 20.4 seconds left on the clock.
"It just wasn't to be," said a dejected Fred King after the game. "We missed some crucial free throws down the stretch, and when you miss five open looks late you can't win."
Heasley scored a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats, while Hizer sank 11 points, that included a pair of three-point buckets to lead the Paden City scoring.
In addition, Slider tallied six points, that included a triple, while Seth Bohrer netted four, and Saxson three points to end the Paden City scoring.
The Wildcats will lose Aaron Heasley and Hayden Hizer to graduation in the fall. Heasley ended the season with a 25 points per game average, scoring 575 points, and 98 three point baskets. He also made 93-121 free throws and 94 two-point baskets.
Hizer, ended the season with a 13.3 per game average, and scored 292 points on 42 made three-point baskets, 77 two-pointers, and was 96-133 free throws. These two combined for 867 of the teams 1,251 points.
Herrick led all scorers with 16 points, that included one from beyond the arch, while Williamson followed with 15 points.
In addition, Halahingano sank two baskets from long range, while Parsons netted six, including the game-winning free throw.