NEW MARTINSVILLE - After watching the first three games of Saturday's Region One "AA" Rotary Challenge go to southern West Virginia teams, Magnolia, arguably the finest team in the region and one of the best in Class AA, took to the court and did what it does best - win.
On a night when former Blue Eagle and West Virginia University standout Jim McCormick was honored, Magnolia did its part to help the northerners avoid the sweep.
Mark Winters scored 11 of his team-high 22 points in the third quarter and Big Blue jumped to a quick 10-0 lead and never trailed in gaining a very impressive 63-42 victory against Ravenswood in the event's nightcap in Wetzel County.
The victory moves Coach Dave Tallman's squad to 14-2 on the season and is another notch in the belt of what is quickly becoming a very fine campaign.
Early on the Eagles could do little wrong while the Red Devils had plenty of trouble getting the ball to find its way into the hoop. Ravenswood cut the early deficit to 10-4, however, Big Blue scored the final six points of the chapter for a 16-4 reading.
In all, Magnolia was 6 of 15 from the floor with a pair of 3-pointers in the opening quarter while the Devils missed their initial eight shots and made only 2 of 21 chances in the first 8 minutes of play.
The Blue Eagles led by as many as 20 in the second quarter before settling for a 33-16 count at the break. Subbing freely in the second half, the margin grew to as many as 27 in the third, 46-21.
''This was actually the most zone defense we have played in a game since I became the head coach here,'' Tallman said afterwards. ''I think we actually went man one time all night, but we still have to get a little better with it, we got a little lazy at times.
''It just seemed like the right time to try it out, and the best thing is that we really do rebound and the run the floor real well out of it.
''Not turning the ball over much was a big key for this win, but it was just an overall great night with the tribute to Jim McCormick and just the whole concept of the regional challenge.
''I want to thank everyone that played a part in this, and there were many, many people who did. This is really a great event, but it takes an awful lot of help to put it on."
While Winters finished with 22 points and nine caroms, Zack Willhoite had 11 points and seven rebounds; Hunter Campbell 11 points off the bench and Stephen Rogalski chipped in with 10. Nick Blatt just missed a double-double with nine tallies and 10 rebounds.