Dons lose in tourney game at Eagles

NEW MARTINSVILLE – Madonna coach George Vargo and Magnolia coach Dave Tallman basically felt the same way after the Blue Eagles eliminated the Blue Dons, 79-56, in their West Virginia Class A, Region One, Section One showdown Tuesday night.

The veteran boys from New Martinsville weren’t going to be denied by the youthful ones from Weirton.

”They just outmanned us, outstrengthed us, outplayed us,” Vargo said. ”We played hard, we’re just not good enough to compete with this team.”

Added Tallman: ”My team, that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen a team play as far as going for loose balls. We went after every loose ball. I thought we outhustled them a little bit and that’s saying a lot when you’re talking about Weirton Madonna.”

What was a relative struggle in the first half where Madonna led 16-14 with six minutes to go turned into a going away victory for the Blue Eagles after they finally got the Blue Dons in foul trouble, shot them out of their zone defense and exploded early in the fourth quarter.

It went from an eight-point game to a 16-point game in the blink of an eye, with Zach Wilhoite and Mark Winters each dropping in back-to-back, unanswered baskets.

”Now you see why we didn’t want to come out of it,” Vargo said.

Winters led the Blue Eagles with 27 points and Wilhoite added 12, but it was the outside shooting of freshman Preston Boswell (three treys) and senior Stephen Rogalski (two) that opened those opportunities. Spencer Campbell and Winters also hit 3s, with Winters capping a personal five-point, 15-second span midway through the fourth quarter.

Campbell and Boswell each wound up with 12 points.

”Once they got out of it, we got some easy buckets,” Tallman said. ”To be honest, our high-low game wasn’t as good as it’s been. We’ve been real effective but teams are going to guard that now. We’re going to get some wide-open looks on the perimeter.”

It was the second meeting between the teams in six days, as Magnolia won the first one, 89-72, mostly from the free-throw line.

Fouls played a part in this one, too. Madonna big man Josh Martin fouled out after playing less than a minute of the fourth quarter, and Ross Comis had to walk on pins and needles in foul trouble for much of the second half.

”That’s been a thing all year,” Vargo said. ”Our young kids are overanxious. They want to do things they can’t do.”

Comis had 20 points last week against the Blue Eagles but only five Tuesday night. James Carnes, who hit five 3-pointers in the first meeting and totaled 21, had just two points.

”The big key to the game was when Comis picked up a third foul,” Tallman said. ”There’s no doubt about that. But I thought we played him pretty well. Whenever Comis came out of the game, we went to our box press, and they turned the ball over quite a bit.”

Will Bowser and Nick Mazur each scored 11 to lead the Blue Dons, with Mazur hitting a trio of 3-pointers.

”I thought Magnolia played like they are on a title-run team,” Vargo said. ”They’re a very good basketball team.

“They have a well-rounded team.”

Magnolia 79, Madonna 56

Madonna 9 20 16 11 – 56

Magnolia 11 26 16 26 – 79

MADONNA: Comis 1 3-4 5; Guio 1 0-0 2; Antinone 0 0-0 0; Jeter 0 0-0 0; Ewusiak 3 2-2 8; Retton 1 0-0 2; Bowser 4 2-2 11; Mazur 4 0-0 11; Shreve 0 0-0 0; Carnes 1 0-0 2; Higgins 1 0-0 2; Stakias 2 0-0 5; Martin 2 4-5 8. Totals: 20 11-13 56. 3-pointers: Mazur 3, Bowser, Stakais.

MAGNOLIA: Brookover 0 0-0 0; Campbell 5 1-2 12; Emch 0 0-0 0; Boswell 4 1-3 12; Elliott 1 0-2 2; Rogalski 3 0-0 8; Smith 0 2-2 2; Ma.Winters 10 6-11 27; Wilhoite 5 2-4 12; Mik.Winters 1 0-0 2; Mit.Winter1 0-0 2; Ritz 0 0-0 0; Shrimp 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 12-24 79. 3-pointers: Campbell, Boswell 3, Rogaslki 2, Winters.