Bluefield Daily Telegraph
“We Believe” is the motto for Bluefield High School athletics, and these Beavers lived up to those words.
The Bluefield Beavers’ boys basketball team spent an entire year believing this would be their season to bring a Class AA state championship back to Mercer County, and they did just that last Saturday, defeating Fairmont Senior 63-43 to claim the crown at the Charleston Civic Center.
It was one year before when the Beavers lost to Tug Valley at the same point in the season, but they decided right then they would be back in 2013, and they would finish the job.
They did just that, and they did it in impressive fashion.
Bluefield faced three teams that were Class AAA last year — North Marion, Robert C. Byrd and Fairmont Senior — and beat all three to claim the Beavers’ first state basketball championship in 17 years.
The Beavers had last won the title in 1996, the second of two in a row. They had been back to the championship game four times since then, but came back empty-handed each time.
Not this time.
Bluefield faced pressure all season as the top-ranked Class AA team in West Virginia, but four juniors and a sophomore, who were coached up by a close-knit and knowledgeable staff, were able to finish a memorable campaign with a 25-3 record, and all three of those defeats came to AAA competition.
The Beavers rolled through the postseason to claim the title. Bluefield defeated James Monroe and PikeView by a combined 74 points in the sectionals, and then used a big second half to beat Wyoming East by 16 in the regionals.
That strong play continued in Charleston. The Beavers, admittedly, didn’t play their best against North Marion (62-51) and Robert C. Byrd (54-48), but saved their best for the last in dominating the Polar Bears in the 100th year of the West Virginia state boys basketball tournament.
Bluefield took a 13-point halftime lead, which was followed by a 6-0 spurt in the third, never allowing Fairmont Senior to get any closer than 15. The Beavers shot better than 50 percent, held the Polar Bears to just 43 points, and didn’t even have their first turnover until there was nearly three minutes left in the third quarter.
There was never a doubt. These Beavers believed and it showed on the court.
Bluefield could be back again, with all five starters and its two top reserves returning for another season, and the goal is now to repeat, much like the Beavers did in 1995-96.
The work to reach that goal will begin soon, but let the Beavers soak in what they have accomplished, and receive all the applause and appreciation they have earned with a job well done.
Believe it, the Beavers are state champions.
We salute them for a job well done.