CHARLESTON - Magnolia coach Dave Tallman has been coming to the West Virginia Boys' State Basketball Tournament for 40 years and said he's never seen a better game.
Unfortunately for him and his Blue Eagles, they were on the losing end.
Mark Winters scored 33 points and added 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as Magnolia lost to Tolsia in the Class AA quarterfinals, 67-59, in triple overtime Wednesday at the Civic Center Coliseum.
Tolsia’s Jacob Copley, right, looks to drive against Magnolia’s Mark Winters during Wednesday night’s contest.
Photo by Josh Strope
''The effort my guys gave was incredible,'' Tallman said. ''It was the best game I've ever seen here. Not by scoring, but by effort. Both teams left it all on the court.
''Give (Jacob) Copley a lot of credit. He is one heckuva player and we knew that. But give Mark Winters a lot of credit, too. He's a dandy also.''
Copley was all the offense for Tolsia (19-7) to the tone of 40 points and 14 rebounds. His 40 points are four shy of the single-game record held by Michael Hagy of Williamson in 1992, and tie him with former Weir standout Ryan Jeter's game against Bluefield in 1998.
Magnolia trailed for most of the game but each time battled back to force a tie when it seemed like the Rebels were going to escape.
The Blue Eagles (20-5) had a chance to win it at the end of regulation but Jayson Keller, who returned from a foot injury and still wasn't 100 percent, saw his jumper fall just short. Winters was able to get a tip but it was too strong and the game went to overtime.
Winters scored the first basket of all three overtimes, but Copley was up to the task each time.
He had chances to win it in the first two overtimes before making good in the third extra session.
Copley made five free throws in the final 4 minutes and Magnolia couldn't find the shooting touch. Winters' opening basket was the only points scored in the final overtime for Magnolia.
Magnolia was in foul trouble for most of the game, especially Stephen Rogalski, who picked up his fourth early in the third.
Rogalski, Winters, Keller, and Hunter Campbell - four Magnolia starters - all fouled out.
Tolsia shot 29 of 39 from the free-throw line, compared to 9 of 15 for Magnolia.
''We have been facing that a good bit this year and I don't know,'' Tallman said. ''We had them and there were some crucial calls.
''We don't blame officials, they do the best they could, but I will let the numbers speak for themselves. It was a little bit like a hockey game in the last 2 minutes and the refs were letting them play. But I have been coaching a long time and I have never had that many guys foul out in a game.''
It was the third straight first-round exit for Magnolia in its final Class AA Tournament. The Blue Eagles move to Class A next season.