WEIRTON - Despite beating Weir High handily at home in December, Magnolia's girls basketball coach Mark Blair said he was worried about coming to the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse Monday night to play the Lady Red Riders.
Turned out, Blair's concerns were unfounded as his Lady Blue Eagles led throughout the game except for twice briefly in the first quarter and rolled to a 49-35 victory, their ninth win in 15 games.
Magnolia senior all-state candidate Mallory Chapman, a four-year starter who has scored more than 1,000 points, added another 31 to her portfolio as she almost outscored the Lady Red Riders by herself.
IN THE LANE — Weir High senior Madison Dalrymple goes up for a shot during the second quarter of Monday’s 49-35 loss to Magnolia inside the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
-- Mike Mathison
"I was really worried about this game playing on the road," Blair explained. "Sometimes we don't play well on the road and Weir is getting better. This game worried me a lot.
"But Mallory definitely is our go-to girl. She's our only senior. She's our leader. She's our coach on the floor. She averages about 18 or 19 points a game so she's the one we look for when the game gets tight."
The teams battled back and forth in the first quarter until Grace Berisford found nothing but net from three-point land to give the Lady Blue Eagles a 13-11 lead going into the second frame.
Magnolia steadily pulled away in the second quarter, but Weir High senior Maddie Dalrymple made a foul shot and a layup closing the gap to 26-21 going into the halftime intermission.
Junior Raegan Stead swished a three ball to open the second half and Alyssa Shingle sank two from the charity stripe as the Riders tied the game at 26-26.
However, Chapman scored eight unanswered points and the Lady Blue Eagles never looked back as they went into the fourth quarter in command, 36-29.
Chapman, who got a lot of her points with nine field goals in the paint but also stepped outside to can three from behind the arc, went to work again to open the final stanza. She scored nine more unanswered points and teammate Taylor Ludewig tossed in a duce to arm Magnolia with an insurmountable 47-29 lead with 5:03 left in the game.
By this time, the Red Riders got fumbleitis and didn't get a shot off until the 4:15 mark of the fourth quarter. They finished with 16 turnovers.
"We had no answer for Chapman," said veteran Red Rider coach Bill Smith, whose team dropped its 11th game in 14 starts. "She's a handful. She's a four-year starter and scored her 1,000th point last week. I don't have anyone that can match up with her.
"We run into spells like we had there in the second half. It seems like the first day of practice sometimes. It drives me crazy"
The Red Riders retaliated with their one-two punch of Shingle, a senior, and Stead, a junior. They scored 14 and 12 points, respectively and also led Weir High with seven rebounds apiece.
The Riders were playing without senior starting forward Ashlynn Drizake, who received a head injury in the loss last week to Madonna.
"They can't do it by themselves," Smith continued. "We need some of the other girls to step up as they did in our win at Bishop Donahue last Saturday.
"They're good kids and they work hard. They give us all they got."
The Red Riders return to action Thursday with a trip to play Hancock County rival Oak Glen while the Lady Blue Eagles will host Monroe Central Wednesday.
Magnolia 49, Weir High 35
Magnolia 13 13 10 13 - 49
Weir High 11 10 8 6 - 35
MAGNOLIA (9-6): K. Chapman 3 0-0 6, Chapman 12 4-6 31, Ludewig 1 0-2 2, Blatt 1 1-2 3, Berisford 2 2-2 7. TOTALS: 19 7-12 49. 3-pointers, 4 (M. Chapman, 3, Berisford); Rebounds, 22 (M. Chapman, 7); Turnovers, 9.
WEIR HIGH (3-11): Wolverton 1 2-2 4, Stead 4 2-2 12, Shingle 5 2-2 14, Dalrymple 2 1-2 5, Robinson 0 0-2 0. TOTALS: 12 7-10 35. 3-pointers, 4 (Stead, 2, Shingle, 2); Rebounds: 21 (Stead, Shingle, 7 each); Turnovers: 16.