Magnolia Ready to Move On

By TRACY WATSON

NEW MARTINSVILLE — There is plenty to forget about last season for Magnolia’s boys’ basketball program, including a late-game loss in a West Virginia Class A regional that cost the Blue Eagles another trip to Charleston.

But veteran coach Dave Tallman is ready to put that season the rear-view mirror and get on with the business at hand, 2017-18.

“We are not used to losing,” Tallman said. “The kids gave everything they had and we were able to upset St. Marys and win another sectional title.”

In erasing last year, Big Blue has only one returning starter, however, he is a very athletic senior — something Tallman is familiar with — and one that the coach believes is capable of averaging a double-double.

Senior 6-foot4 center Leo Herrick is coming off a season in which he averaged 15 points and seven rebounds a night and is more than ready to lead the Blue Eagles back to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and state tournaments.

“Leo honestly could average a double-double,” Tallman said. “He is a great inside-outside shooter and he runs the floor so well. He is also a great kid and the kind of kid you want out there running the show.”

Herrick will be joined in the starting lineup by three seniors and a sophomore. Guards Marco Smith (5-8) and Garret Babe (6-0) will also have 6-foot forward Jarrett Moore and 6-1 sophomore point-guard Jake Gamble.

“Marco is very quick, runs the floor well and has a great perimeter shot,” Tallman said. “Garret has put in a lot of time improving his game and has the confidence to be a very good player while Jarrett has long arms, is a good all-around player and can block shots.”

Cousins Williams Nice (6-2, Sr., C) and Eli Nice (6-1, Jr., F) will normally be the first players off the bench while sophomore forward Trenton Scheibelhood is a 6-3 “diamond in the rough,” according to Tallman.

Trey Blain, a 6-foot sophomore guard, was the Blue Eagles’ top golfer this past fall and a “very intelligent” kid Tallman said. The remainder of the varsity roster includes Devin Shimp (6-2, Sr., C), Dalton Pritchard (6-1, Sr., F) and Jared Kocher (5-11, Jr., G).

Tallman will again be assisted by Mark Blair and Larry West.

“There is a lot of competition for positions and playing time right now, but as always, this team’s goals will be the OVAC, sectional, regional and state tournament,” Tallman said. “And with the highest-seeded sectional team hosting the tournament, every regular season game is going to be very important.

“Getting to the state tournament is always a big deal, because we have proved in the past that once you get there, anything can happen.

“I feel like we have some great young men on and off the court and the ability to improve each and every day. And the schedule is one that is very conducive to our reaching our goals.

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