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Solid First Half Lifts Magnolia Past Ritchie Co.

January 10, 2018
BY BRUCE CRAWFORD - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The visiting Magnolia Blue Eagles took on the Ritchie County Rebels Jan. 2 in local high school boys basketball action. With the weather very cold outside, it was only fitting that it would continue inside the gymnasium, before the competing teams warmed up. But it took most of the first period, and half of the second, before the Blue Eagles turned the heat up, and eventually got the 65-53 win.

It took nearly three-and-one-half minutes before any player put the ball in the hoop, with a Ritchie deuce for the game's first basket. It would take another minute and a half before the Blue Eagles would cash in on their first bucket - an Eli Nice two-pointer to even things up at 2-2.

Magnolia's Garrett Babe tickled the twine from beyond the arc for his first of three long-range bonus bombs, giving the Eagles a 5-2 lead with about 3:30 left in period one.

After a Rebel time-out, the Eagles' William Nice sank one of two free throws with a minute showing on the clock. Shortly after, the Big Blue's Leo Herrick tapped in a miss at the buzzer to give Magnolia a 8-4 lead, heading into the second period.

Eli Nice and Herrick each sank baskets, getting Magnolia off to a better second period start and extending the lead to 13-6 before MHS Head Coach Dave Tallman called a time-out.

After the break, Babe swished his first of two three-balls in the period to give the visitors a 19-8 lead, while Eli Nice and Jake Gamble added a deuce and free throw, respectively, to push the visitors' lead to 22-8, giving Magnolia its largest lead of the night.

After a Rebel basket, Gamble swished two straight at the free-throw line before Herrick added a fast-break two-pointer. However, Magnolia was guilty of fouling a Rebel player behind the arch at the buzzer. The Rebel sank two, and the first half of play ended with Magnolia on top at 26-14.

Babe paced the Eagles in the scoring column with 11 points, including a trio of three-point baskets. Herrick followed with six markers, while Eli Nice sank a pair of deuces. William Nice and Devin Shimp each made a free throw.

In the second half, both teams scored 39 points -14 in the third and 25 points in the fourth. The Eagles made 4-6 charity tosses in the third and 11-16 in the final period to put the game out of reach, with Herrick sinking 13-15.

Herrick paced the Eagles with a game-high 27 points, while Babe followed with 13, including three baskets from beyond the arc. DeMarco Smith provided nine markers, including one from long-range, while Gamble provided six points.

In addition, Shimp tallied five points, while Eli Nice added four, and William Nice scoring a free throw.

For the Ritchie Rebels, Chase Sullivan tallied 21 points, including 7-7 from the free throw line, while Clayton Bees scored an even dozen.



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