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The Press Box for March11

By Staff | Mar 11, 2020

High School Basketball never ceases to amaze me. After watching Magnolia defeat the Silver Knights last Tuesday night in New Martinsville, my thoughts were the Blue Eagles just might make it to Charleston. Even though they had lost the week before by 35 points to St. Marys, I had a gut feeling they could pull off an upset on their own floor on Friday in a revenge game.

Then came the big hit, the Eagles found out on Thursday that their top player and leading scorer would not be playing in the big game because of disciplinary reasons. Many around town felt the season was over. Magnolia Coach Dave Tallman, his staff and most of all the Blue Eagles didn’t buy it. Tallman took his players aside and told them they had to step up. He said I need more production and better defense. With no time to prepare for the loss, they took to heart what they were told and went out and played the game of their lives.

The Blue Eagles gym was packed with standing room only. Paden City and Tyler Consolidated both showed up in support, and what a game it was. The Big Blue went right to work and led nearly the whole game. Unlike the previous meeting Magnolia kept the defense pressure up while hitting three’s and playing well on the inside. With the game tied at 59 and the clock running down Sophomore guard Trevor Williamson put on a shake and bake move and went for the dagger, a three ball that hit nothing but net, giving the Blue Eagles a 62-59 win and sending them into tonight’s regional match up with Cameron, with the winner getting a trip to Charleston.

Saturday was also a great day as I watched the Mountaineers knock off the number four ranked Baylor Bears at a sold out Coliseum. I don’t know what to think, for the past couple weeks I’ve heard everything from Huggins is retiring to Huggins needs to hang it up. Some were saying he was moving on. I didn’t buy it, Saturday’s performance was one of the best by Huggins and his team this season. After falling behind 9-0 at the start, the Mounties worked their way back into it to take a two point lead at the break. They fell behind again 28-24 at the start of the second half before putting it altogether and scoring 48 points in the last 16 minutes of the game for a 76-64 victory.

It was exciting to watch as they clamped down on Baylor, allowing them only one field goal in an eight minute spam in the second half. Meanwhile Huggins seemed to be in complete control as he used eight different players in the second half rotation with four players hitting double figures and another scoring nine points. It was a masterful coaching performance from one of Americas best. Lets hope he doesn’t go anywhere anytime soon.

The Silver Knights and Paden City Wildcat baseball teams are both getting lots of practice in as the opening games draw near.The Knights have a new assistant, but a familiar face, as Vance Ash is back in their dugout after spending last season as the Blue Eagles assistant under Coach Dave Cisar. Ash does a good job with the kids and knows the game, he will be an asset to the Silver Knights in 2020.

Paden City also has a new assistant, but a well known figure in local sports, as Jay Slider steps in to help longtime coach Brent Croasmun. This will be Slider’s first time as a high school coach, but he should be up to the task as he’s been on the sideline over the years with little league teams and club ball. He has a head full of baseball knowledge and will put a lot of energy into the Cats program. He should also be an asset to Paden City in 2020.

In the next couple weeks we will be featuring the local baseball, softball and track teams in our sports pages. We also will have an all Wetzel/Tyler Newspaper boys basketball team. Our sports schedule tab will be out next week on March 18. Good Luck to all athletes during the spring sports season. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com.