NEW MARTINSVILLE - Monroe Central's huge advantage in experience, the Seminoles' aggressive pressure defense and the one-two scoring punch of senior veterans Chelsea Roberts and Chelsie Tewanger proved too much to handle for Magnolia High School's girls' basketball team Thursday night.
The Seminoles (4-2), with four seniors and one junior in their starting lineup, forced the young Blue Eagles into 18 first-half turnovers while building an early lead that paid off in a 70-34 victory.
Magnolia, which started one junior, three sophomores and a freshman, never led as its record fell to 1-2 on the young season.
''Not good," Blue Eagles coach Dave Chapman said. ''I can't explain it but it just did not look like we had any legs. I thought we played pretty well at times the other night against Wheeling Central but we weren't ready to play.
''I think the future looks good for us," Chapman continued. ''We have several sophomores that got a lot of playing time last year. I just told the girls in the locker room that we have to keep working hard and continue to grow.''
After two early ties, Roberts scored nine straight points, twice nailing trifectas from the top of the key. The early run also saw her drop in a soft jumper and a free throw that extended the Seminoles' lead to 13-4.
Monroe Central's leading returning scorer and rebounder, Roberts swished 12 of 18 shots from the floor with four of her buckets coming from 3-point land. The 5-foot-7 wing ended her sparkling 32-point evening by draining a third quarter buzzer-beating long-distance triple from the baseline near the Seminoles bench to put her team's lead at 30 points for the first time.
While Roberts didn't play at all in the fourth quarter, Tewanger saw a couple minutes of court time before going to the bench with 18 points on eight of 13 shooting from the floor.
The dynamic duo combined for 27 of Monroe Central's 35 points in the opening half and 50 points overall.
''We were knocking down shots and when you make shots, everything seems to work," Seminoles coach Troy Baker said. ''Our pressure defense early in the game helped get us the momentum. Magnolia has a young team and I think we had them rattled right from the start."
Baker also believes the Seminoles outlook is good for the 2012-2013 season. Their only losses at this juncture were by one point to rival River in the opener and to powerful Shadyside.
''We can be a pretty good team," he insisted. ''Our experience certainly should help us. Getting a little more scoring from a couple other people will be a key as to how far we can go this year."
Anne LaFollette finished with eight points against the Blue Eagles but no one else had more than five markers for Monroe Central.
Magnolia also is searching for some additional scoring from its starting five. Mallory Chapman, the lone junior in the lineup, had 14 points last night while next in line was Kiera Standiford with eight.
The Blue Eagles were just 14 of 43 from the field, including a dismal 4-for-13 during the first and third quarters.
Monroe Central led 21-8 after the opening eight minutes and 35-19 at the half before going up by 57-27 after the third quarter.