NEW MARTINSVILLE - As Clay-Battelle was attempting to come all the way back from what had been a 20-point, second-half deficit Monday night with Tristan Haught and Zach Chisler draining shots from the parking lot, Magnolia coach Dave Tallman's mind wondered back a few years.
''(River's) Mitch Miracle and Scooter Tolzda,'' Tallman said. ''That's what they reminded me of back in the day. They come across from half court and boom.''
Though the Cee-Bees wound up making 12 3-pointers, the longshots eventually failed to come in as Magnolia avenged an earlier loss, 81-71, in a wire-to-wire effort that featured 30 points and three dunks from Mark Winters but little easiness among the Blue Eagles' faithful.
Magnolia’s Zach Wilhoite, right, makes an inside move on Clay-Battelle’s Logan Opyoke, left, and Zach Chisler on Monday night.
Photo by Jim Elliott
''I never felt comfortable,'' said Tallman, whose team led 44-24 two minutes into the third quarter. That was before Clay-Battelle hit the last seven of its 3-pointers. Haught had seven of his own on his way to a team-best 25 points before limping off with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter.
''It's a shame he rolled his ankle,'' Cee-Bees coach Josh Kisner said, ''or he might have been good for three or four more, who knows?''
Tallman couldn't have argued that. His guys had hands in the faces of all of those shooters, particularly Haught, all night. It didn't matter.
''We know they can shoot it real well,'' Tallman said. ''They're shooting at the open end of our gym, which should be a little disadvantage.''
Winters scored each of Magnolia's first nine points to start the game, then added the first four of the second half to push what was a 40-24 halftime lead a little more out of reach.
So you'd think.
With 1:28 remaining, Clay-Battelle whittled it all the way down to seven, had the ball, and, in an oddity, six fouls to give.
''I'm tickled to death that we won,'' Tallman said.
When Clay-Battelle finally got to the point where it was able to put Magnolia on the line, Stephen Rogalski, who added 21 points, hit a pair of free-throws to help ice things.
Rogalski, too, found the range as he hit four 3-pointers. There were 19 made 3s in the game.
''He has been shooting a lot better.'' Tallman said. ''He's very capable of doing that.''
Zach Wilhoite added 18 points down low, as the Blue Eagles outscored the Cee-Bees 54-24 in the paint. Preston Boswell added eight points and Kyle Elliott, who had 13 points in Saturday's OVAC championship victory, added four points and the stickiest defense he could possibly muster.
''I think if we're going to do anything, we're going to have to continue to have that balance,'' Tallman said.
Chisler totaled 24 for Clay-Battelle.