WEIRTON - Most people thought Magnolia's boys' basketball team was doing pretty well with two losses in 14 games and a No. 2 ranking among the Class AA teams in the state.
It could be they haven't seen anything yet because Coach Dave Tallman's tall and talented team is getting healthy and it showed what it could do when it had just about all of the players available with a 59-42 victory against Weir on Wednesday at the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
The Blue Eagles nipped the Red Riders a month ago in New Martinsville in a game that the Red Riders had a chance to win right up to the final second, but it was a lot different this time around.
So what was the difference?
''Well, we had Stephen Rogalski back for one thing,'' Tallman said. ''He's a pretty good shooter. On the other end of it, Hunter Campbell was banged up a little bit and he's getting healthy. So that's about as healthy as we've been all season.''
Rogalski chipped in 14 points and Campbell added eight to a balanced Magnolia offensive attack.
''Having those kids back allowed us to do a lot more things offensively than we've been able to do in the early games,'' Tallman said. ''Everybody is doubling and tripling down on Mark Winters now, so if we have more weapons out there it makes it a lot easier for him.
''We've been playing good defense all year, but the offense was our concern. I thought we looked a lot better on offense (Wednesday).''
Winters, the 6-foot-6 junior center, is Magnolia's go-to guy and he led everybody with a double-double, scoring 21 points and hauling down 14 rebounds. However, Tallman may have to add him to the injury list because he left the game late in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a turned ankle or knee.
Winters battled inside with 6-7 Red Riders senior Harley Mills, who also finished with a double-double. Mills was the only Red Rider in double figures with 16 points and he grabbed 10 rebounds. Mills also had four blocked shots and a couple of steals.
Senior Mike Drizake hustled his way to three steals and backed up Mills with eight points.
The loss is the fourth in a row for Weir and the 10th in the last 11 games. The overall record dropped to 4-10.
''In the first half, we played great defense, especially against their initial passes; and we had good movement,'' said Weir coach Mike Granato, whose team likely will have its first losing record in the last 10 years.
''Where they got us was that we didn't block out very well under the basket and they got a lot of offensive rebounds.''
Magnolia drubbed the Red Riders off the boards 34-23.
''But we were down only three at 26-23 at the half,'' Granato said. ''I felt that in the second half our frustration showed a little bit in terms of missing a lot of easy shots and missing opportunities.
''We had a stretch in the third quarter where we held them, I think, to four points in 5 minutes. But at the same time we only scored two. That would have been the ideal time that we could have made a run, but we could not create anything.''
Instead, it was Magnolia that made the run in the third period to open up a 15-point lead going into the fourth. The Blue Eagles outscored the Red Riders 17-5 in the third quarter.