Wheeling Central Maroon Knights Ground Magnolia Eagles
Central jumps out to early lead, cruises to win
WHEELING — Wheeling Central could not have asked for a better first quarter. The Maroon Knights put on a press that was textbook material and seemed to find the bottom of the net for every shot they put up in bursting out to a 31-13 lead against Magnolia.
The Maroon Knights, who returned all but one of their starters, had four players in double figures and never trailed while the Blue Eagles, who are trying to replace almost all of its key players form last year, figured out the defensive pressure and were able to find some open shots and get some spurts going.
Wheeling Central, though carried a big enough lead and defeated Magnolia, 90-72, in the second boys game of the Undo’s-Main Street Bank Holiday Tournament on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.
The Maroon Knights will play Madonna in the championship game tonight while Magnolia faces Bishop Donahue in the consolation game.
“We shot the ball really well,” Maroon Knights coach Mel Stephens said. “I thought Adam Jarrett got us off to a good start. We did a good job of getting the ball up the floor and finding the open guys. Defensively, we were alright the first quarter, but early in the second quarter, we started getting a little lackadaisical and gave them some really good scoring chances and kind of let them come back in the game.
“Overall it’s a good effort. We shot the ball probably as good as we’ve shot all year and I thought we turned them over enough to give ourselves some easy chances that way.”
After Wheeling Central scored the first eight points of the second quarter to put the score at 39-13, Magnolia started it’s first run.
Tyler Williamson scored 12 straight points for the Blue Eagles and the lead was cut to 15 as the score read 46-31 with 1:52 left in the first half.
The Maroon Knights finished out the half with an 8-0 spurt and took a 54-31 lead into the locker room.
“We have not played the first quarters really well,” Magnolia coach Dave Tallman said. “Like I explained them, when Preston (Boswell) was a senior and Mark Winters was a senior, that was their 76th start. They started since their freshman year. These guys are juniors and seniors, but they are new starters. There’s a difference.”
John Burkhalter, Brent Price and Adam Jarrett all scored 13 points to lead the way for Wheeling Central while Bray Price contributed with 12. Trey Mueller and Gabe Rohmann both tallied nine points.
For the Blue Eagles, Williamson scored a game-high 33 points and also cashed in on five 3-pointers while Leo Herrick was solid with 19.
“I thought Tyler played an exceptional game,” Tallman said. “In a big venue, I was real pleased with his play and no one is going to outwork him. It was the first time I really think he has shown what his potential is.”
The Maroon Knights will have another difficult task tonight as they face Joey Ewusiak and the Blue Dons of Madonna. Ewusiak tallied 38 points in a win over Bishop Donahue.
“They’re a good team,” Stephens said. “They were a good team last year and they got everybody back. They lost two games this year which surprised me. But they play well together and they’re going to come out and play hard. We’re going to have to be on the top of our game and play really well.”