NEW MARTINSVILLE - It was hard to tell from talking to Shadyside coach Tina Yates following Monday night's game against Magnolia that the Tigers had won ... big.
''We were very sluggish,'' Yates said following Shadyside's 69-43 girls' basketball triumph. ''We were not focused from the get go.
''We were missing our shots ... easy buckets, and missing passes - basic pass and catch - and that's a result of lack of focus.''
PHOTO BY RICK THORP
Magnolia’s Dallas Mullett pushes the ball ahead Monday night as Shadyside defender Karli Bonar provides pressure.
The Tigers, Ohio Division IV state semifinalists last season, are expected to go far again once the tournament begins next month. But if they keep playing like they did Monday, according to Yates, it will be a short postseason.
''It's crunch time now,'' she said. ''We're at the end of the season and we have to come ready to play every game or it's going to be a one-and-done situation.''
Shadyside improved to 14-2 and notched its second victory of the season against the Blue Eagles (1-15), a squad it hammered 101-35 on its home boards Dec. 19.
The Tigers also maintained their lead in the OVAC Class 2-A standings and look good to play host to a conference semifinal game in a few weeks.
But Yates' team has loftier goals and she said the play Monday, especially early on, won't get it done.
''We have to come ready to play and be focused,'' she said. ''(Magnolia coach Dave Chapman) had a great game plan and he had his kids ready to play.
''He has a team that's getting better.''
That's true. But, despite an off night, the Tigers were still too much for Chapman's squad.
''They fought,'' Chapman said of his team, which starts three freshmen, a sophomore and a senior. ''They got knocked down and got back up. But that's a pretty good team. I tip my hat to them.''
Toni Andes canned a 3-pointer to start the game, but Magnolia came back with nine straight points, including five from sophomore Mallory Chapman, to take a 9-3 lead.
Yates called timeout to stop the bleeding and from that point on, with a major assist from defensive pressure, the game was all Shadyside.
The Tigers went on a 24-3 run to grab a 27-9 advantage, fueled by four triples - two each from Hayley Holenka and Karli Bonar.
Long-range bombs were key to the Tigers' cause, with seven of the team's nine coming in the first half.
''Basketball is all about spurts,'' Dave Chapman said. ''We went on a dry spell and they went on a run.''
The Tigers jumped out to a 40-18 halftime lead and maintained the 22-point margin after three quarters.
Holenka and Bonar each added a trey early in the fourth quarter to stretch Shadyside's lead to 59-29.
Holenka finished with a game-high 23 points, with Bonar adding 14.
Mallory Chapman's 17 points paced the Blue Eagles.
''Our effort was exceptional,'' Dave Chapman said. ''We've gotten better. We're not the same team we were a week ago or even two weeks ago.
''But that's a good team we played and that's how you measure yourself.''