Macon, Marion-Franklin escape Walnut Ridge upset bid

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West Virginia commit Elijah Macon

It was a less than enjoyable debut for West Virginia commit Elijah Macon (6’8/2012), however – and more importantly – his Marion Franklin Red Devils escaped with a 76-73 overtime triumph of a feisty Walnut Ridge outfit on Tuesday. The sophomore, who is more of a man-child, spent most of the evening next to the head coach Orlando McCoy saddled with foul trouble.


It was a less than enjoyable debut for West Virginia commit Elijah Macon (6’8/2012), however – and more importantly – his Marion Franklin Red Devils escaped with a 76-73 overtime triumph of a feisty Walnut Ridge outfit on Tuesday.

The sophomore, who is more of a man-child, spent most of the evening next to the head coach Orlando McCoy saddled with foul trouble.

The first 20 seconds of the game set the tone for Macon’s evening. One of the most highly-regarded sophomores in the nation, Macon, along with Walnut Ridge big man Dwayne Bazemore (6’8/2011) were hit with a double foul.

Though, it appeared for more than five minutes of the first period Macon was going to dominate the paint. He snagged five rebounds, swatted away four shots, and altered several others.

Macon would block another shot to start the second quarter, but quickly found a seat for the rest of the half after picking up his second foul.

Offensively, Macon had nary a touch in the first 16 minutes of action.

“Obviously, I have not seen the tape yet but he was very similar to last year,” said Walnut Ridge head coach Jason Bates. “I thought (Dwayne) Bazemore, (Austin) Traylor, and (Jed) Reid did an excellent job of staying between him and the basket.”

While Macon was struggling, rugged junior guard Jeremy McCoy (6’1) kept the Red Devils ahead of the game with a 35-29 lead.

“We knew their success would come through their guards McCoy and (DeJuan) McGaughy,” Bates mentioned.

McGaughy was held to just one field goal in the first, but emerged in the fourth quarter with eight points and scored 15 points in the second half including the overtime. The senior finished with 18 points.

Macon would return briefly in the third quarter scoring his first and only basket with 5:45 remaining in the quarter on a pretty spin move and finger roll, but quickly picked up his third and fourth personal foul by the 4:30-mark of the quarter.

In the meantime, Walnut Ridge stormed back to take a 50-45 lead at the end of the third led by a monster period from Bazemore and junior Austin Traylor (6’4). The former scored 10 points and grabbed four boards in the eight minute span. Traylor added 6 markers.

Macon would once again try and return, but this time the stay was even shorter and this instance his departure was permanent. Macon committed his fifth personal with little time elapsed in the fourth quarter.

The game was frantic and intense for almost the entire final frame, and the ending was just the icing on the cake. Several missed opportunities by the Red Devils allowed the Scots a chance for victory at the end of regulation, but the ‘Ridge’s Jeremy Qualls (5’10/2010) attempt to draw a foul driving the lane was unsuccessful as the senior went crashing to the floor granting Marion Franklin one final opportunity.

After a full-court drive to the bucket, it appeared M-F senior Verlon Reed would go to the line with no time on the clock for a chance to win the game but after a wild scene in the Red Devils’ gymnasium the official agreed to send the game to overtime. It was a strange turn-of-events to say the least.

Qualls had to be carried off the floor with an apparent ankle injury.

In overtime, the Red Devils outscored the Scots 13-10 to earn the 76-73 win. McCoy led the way with 22 points. Traylor led the ‘Ridge with 17 points and six caroms and Bazemore added 15 and six. 6-foot-4 junior Jed Reid finished with 13 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. 

For Macon, it was a long and frustrating evening, but better days are certainly ahead for future Mountaineer. His final stat line was three points, seven rebounds, and five blocks in less than 15 minutes of game time.

“He has a ton of potential and will be a great player,” Bates added.

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