BLUEFIELD, Va. —
By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD, Va. — What a difference 33 days make.
The last time Bluefield and Graham met on the hardwood, it was all Beavers. The second time around was simply good basketball.
Anthony Eades scored 22 of his 26 points in the opening half, including nine during an 11-2 run late in the second quarter, and the Beavers held off a valiant effort by the G-Men for a 64-53 victory on Wednesday night at Graham Middle School.
It was a stark contrast to the previous meeting, a 75-32 rout for Bluefield on Dec. 14.
“I can’t say enough about our guys’ effort,” Graham head coach Glynn Carlock, Jr. said. “I know there is no being satisfied losing any game, but when you have got a chance to go from the first game where we were blown out of the water to this game...
“If we could have had just a couple of possessions go our way offensively, you are looking at a chance to make it a close ball game at the end.”
It was much closer than the last one, when the Beavers led 46-16 at the break on their way to a 43-point win.
“They are a totally different ball team, they really took care of the ball, we were in a press most of the game and it did not affect them a whole lot,” Bluefield head coach Buster Large said. “Glynn Carlock, Jr. does a great job with this team, I have great respect for him.
“They are only going to get better and we wish them well the rest of the season and I hope they do well in the postseason too this year.”
Bluefield (8-1), which won for a sixth straight game, never trailed, led by Eades, who had 11 points in each of the opening quarters. That included four 3s, with three coming in the first period, as the Beavers’ lead grew to as much as nine before settling for a 21-13 advantage.
Eades scored just four points in the second half, but much of that had to do with Graham’s defensive effort.
“Our shot selection was not all that good, but they made it very tough with that 1-3-1 zone,” Large said. “They moved the wings out real wide and that affected our outside shooting.
“The first half he was very effective, which Tony Hood was very effective for Graham too.”
Very. Hood answered Eades with nine first quarter points, but didn’t score again after reaching 15 for the game, narrowing the margin to 29-23 with 3:20 left before the break.
“We did some things well, but I guess the old saying is ‘A win is a win’,” Large said. “I wasn’t very well pleased with our foul shooting, 12 of 26 is not very good for a team with the schedule we have got to play.
“Overall we didn’t turn the ball over a lot either, we took care of the ball, but I felt like it was a good game.”
Bluefield made one of its patented spurts late in the first half, with Eades scoring nine points during an 11-2 run to expand the Beavers’ lead to 40-25 at halftime.
“I was proud of our guys effort, but it seems like a couple of possessions there we bogged down, especially late in the second quarter with a 1:55 on the clock,” said Carlock, whose G-Men played a second game without senior guard Spencer Sheets, who continues to nurse an ankle injury. “I think they went 5 of 6 in that 1:55 and we went cold and it went it from a seven-point lead to 15 in a minute and 55.
“With that situation right there, that is an eight-point swing, and against a team as good as they hard is hard to overcome.”
While Graham never cut the lead to less than 10, the G-Men didn’t make it easy on the Beavers, which built its largest lead to 20, at 50-30, with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
Graham outscored Bluefield 23-14 from that point, led by Colby Hill, who scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half for the G-Men. Freshman guard Roman Workman added 12 points for Graham, while Zach Proffitt contributed eight points and seven rebounds.
“We are happy to get out of here with a win,” Large said. “We return back home Friday night with River View and then it just going to get tougher and tougher each week.
“I am real happy about the kids’ effort and real proud of being able to come down here tonight and get this win.”
Graham (11-4), which saw its six-game win streak snapped, scored the first seven points of the final period, but could never get closer than the final margin.
Still, Carlock was pleased with the improvement shown in just over a month, especially in handling the basketball and limiting turnovers.
“I thought we did a fairly nice job at times with their fullcourt pressure, much better than the first game, but halfcourt defense was just as good as their fullcourt,” Carlock said. “Credit them and their staff for the work they have put in on that, but they have a good ball team.
“I wish them all the luck in the world, I don’t see many teams in AA that can stay with that squad. They are a special group.”
Corey Coppola, a transfer from Graham, added 11 points for Bluefield, 10 of which came on offensive putbacks. Michael Yost tallied 10 points and Lykel Collier and D.J. Edwards contributed eight apiece.
“(Corey) really is getting stronger for us with his size and he has worked extremely hard at practice,” Large said. “We have got to have that to get to be a real competitive ball club this year if we are going to stay at the level we need to play at here in the next couple of weeks with the teams that we have got coming up.
“We are going to have not only him, but some help from some other kids too.”
While Bluefield will host River View on Friday, Graham will entertain Grayson County with the lead in the Mountain Empire District up for grabs.
The G-Men might have four losses, but those defeats to Abingdon, Floyd County and Bluefield are to three teams with a combined record of 35-8.
“Out of those four losses that we have had, there has only been one game that we have not been in and that was the first Bluefield game,” Carlock said. “We were right there with Abingdon, we were right there with a chance to play with Floyd and tonight I thought we were with them for the majority of the game.
“We have got a resilient group of guys, they played hard and they do what we ask them do. There were no heads hung leaving this locker room tonight.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
at Graham Middle School
D.J. Edwards 2 4-10 8, Anthony Eades 9 4-4 26, Lykel Collier 3 1-5 8, Michael Yost 4 1-3 10, Corey Coppola 5 1-2 11, Jordan Ponder 0 0-0 0, David Woodrum 0 1-2 1, Matthew Woodrum 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 12-26 64.
Tony Hood 6 2-2 15, Roman Workman 5 2-4 12, Marshall Hawley 0 0-1 0, Colby Hill 4 7-9 16, Zach Proffitt 3 2-4 8, Samuel Stowers 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Figueroa 1 0-0 2. Total 19 13-20 53.
Bluefield................................21 19 15 9 — 64
Graham................................13 12 12 16 — 53
3-point goals: BF 6 (Eades 4, Collier 1, Yost 1); GR 2 (Hood 1, Hill 1). Total fouls: BF 17; GR 13. Fouled out: Hawley. Technicals: none. JV—Bluefield 45 (Trevor Mullins 25); Graham 33 (Isaiah Harris 10).
BLUEFIELD, Va. —
By BRIAN WOODSON
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