Knights Fall in Sectional Finals
The Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights’ girls basketball team jumped out to a 5-0 first-quarter lead, but from there it was all downhill as the Blue Eagles went on to a 65-43 victory in the West Virginia Class A Region I, Section II championship game on Friday, Feb. 22 in New Martinsville.
The Knights got an early 3-pointer from senior JoLee Walton to take the lead. She then followed up with an easy basket to give the Knights a five-point lead. That’s when the Blue Eagles’ Aquera Cabral took over. The 5′ guard was found wide open in the corner and drained a three; she followed that with another a short time later, and the Blue Eagles hit a free throw to go up, 7-5. They would never trail again as they raced out to a 26-19 halftime lead.
After the break Tyler came out cold, and the Blue Eagles had their way – increasing the lead to 24 with a 25-14 quarter. The Silver Knights tightened up in the fourth quarter, winning the frame 13-11, but it was not near enough as they fell to 14-10. The Blue Eagles improved to 16-8.
The Blue Eagles out-rebounded the Silver Knights, 36-19, which was a major difference in the outcome of the game. Tyler also committed 19 turnovers, to 11 for Magnolia.
Kyndra Pilant had a huge game for Magnolia, scoring her 1,000th career point in the third period and finishing the contest with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Cabral tied Pilant for game-scoring honors with 21 points of her own, including five 3-pointers. Mady Winters was also a force, as she hit for a double-double 15 points and 10 boards.
Knights Coach Ben Thomas had a game plan to stop Cabral’s shooting, but she managed to get her shots anyway. “We knew they had a great shooter in Cabral,” Thomas said. “Our game plan was to pressure her shot and get her off balance, while taking care of the middle. We did that initially, but they fired up those shots and made them and dissolved our game plan.”
The Knights were led by freshman Lauren Templeton, who played a great game against the Magnolia bigs. She ended with 13 points, seven rebounds and had two blocks. Senior Josey Jones finished with 13 also for the Knights, while Walton was one short of double-figures with nine. Walton also grabbed five bebounds. Peyton Kocher hit two 3-pointers for six points, and Allie Miller added a basket. The Knights hit 5-12 free throws. Magnolia made just 6-18.
“Give it up to Magnolia,” Coach Thomas said. “They had a great game plan, and they pressured us more than I thought they would. I thought we played a great game too, but it’s just hard to beat a team when they shoot that well.”
The Silver Knights will travel to Wheeling Central on Thursday night for a Regional contest, while Magnolia will host Weirton Madonna. The two winners will both advance to the finals, and to Charleston for the state tournament.
Silver Knights Down Rebels in Sectional Play
Tyler Consolidated, the second seed in the Region I Section II, girls basketball tournament, advanced to play top seed Magnolia on Feb. 22 with a 56-46 hard-fought victory over number three seed, Ritchie County. The high school girls basketball action happened Feb. 20 on the Knights’ floor.
Senior forward JoLee Walton led the Knights to the win with a 22-point, 14 rebound double-double. She was backed by senior guard Josey Jones with 16 points, six assists and four steals. Peyton Kocher, one of the top 3-point shooters in the Mid-Ohio Valley, ended with seven points – including two from long range. The Knights hit 16-20 free throws with freshman center Lauren Templeton making all six of her attempts and Walton hitting on 7-9. Regan Smith and Caleigh Phillips each added a basket for the Knights. Templeton and Miller each collected seven rebounds for the Knights, and Templeton had three blocks.
The two biggest free throws of the night came with 1:45 on the clock and Ritchie County closing the gap. Summer Miller got fouled and sank both attempts to get the Knights’ lead back up to nine. She then grabbed a defensive rebound and flipped the outlet pass to Walton, who got fouled and sank 1-2 for the final score.
“We came ready to play; we’ve been working hard in practice, and tonight the girls ran the offense to near perfection,” said Knights coach Benny Thomas. “We played well on defense, and we worked the ball well for easy shots. I thought the girls followed the game plan, and it paid off. This is a good group of girls, and they all contribute. We hit our free throws, which we need to do for us to win. Now we take on Magnolia for the sectional championship.”
Ritchie County’s Abbi Haught was the game’s leading scorer with 25 points, while Ashley Davis added 13. The Rebels hit on 8-15 from the charity stripe, and could manage only eight fourth-quarter points.
Tyler hit nine free throws and a basket for 11 in the last frame.