CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For Wheeling Central, the fourth time was the charm.
The seventh-seeded Knights opened up a huge early lead behind David Park's blistering 3-point shooting and stunned second-seeded Magnolia 58-35 in Wednesday's boys state tournament quarterfinals at the Civic Center.
Park finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds. The victory reversed Central's three losses to Magnolia in three meetings this season.
With 4:45 left in the first quarter and Central nursing a 4-2 lead, Park began a barrage of five straight 3-pointers with a long trey from beyond the head of the key. By the time the 6-foot-4 junior capped the Knights' 17-0 run with another bomb from the left side, Central had piled up a 21-2 advantage.
"The first one went in, so I just kept shooting," Park said afterward. "My teammates were getting me the ball when I was open, so I just let it fly."
If the basket looked big as a hot tub to Park, it must have looked like a thimble to Magnolia. The Blue Eagles made just 5 of 23 first-half field goal attempts, including a wretched 1 for 10 from 3-point range, and trailed 32-12 at intermission.
Magnolia coach Dave Tallman said he had "no explanation" for how a team that scored more than 90 points seven times during the season could suddenly go so cold.
"Where the offense was, I have no idea," he said. "Like I told [the players], it's basketball. It happens to the Lakers, it happens to Duke and today it happened to Magnolia."
Central coach Mel Stephens believes his team's defense made the difference.
"I thought our ability to help on their big guys inside - and Brandon [Wallace's defense] on Mark Winters - were outstanding," Stephens said. "They averaged 74 against us in three [regular-season and tournament] games, and we held them to 35 today."
Magnolia won all three of the earlier matchups, 65-60 at Wheeling, 82-66 in New Martinsville and 74-50 on a neutral court in the sectionals.
Stephens said the lopsided losses might have been blessings in disguise because they gave Magnolia no clue what the Knights' state tournament game plan might be.