By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
TAZEWELL, Va. —
In a bookend week of games with Tazewell, Richlands is getting closer but still working on the same story.
Five days after a game at RHS, the Bulldogs topped the Blue Tornado 70-48 Friday in Southwest District action. Tazewell (7-12, 2-4) was able to play the overall roster liberally while Richlands (2-14, 0-7) also got every player into the contest.
There is a possibility the two county foes will meet again in a couple of weeks in the opening round of the post-season tournament.
Noah Walker, a junior star, punctuated senior night with another outstanding effort with 22 points, 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and a pair of steals for the Bulldogs as nine different players hit the scoring column for THS.
“Tonight was a good game — good to win in the district against a rival,” noted Walker. “We need to keep winning, get some momentum going into the tournament,” said Walker. “Everybody is stepping up, contributing to the team.”
Tanner Catron ignited the early Dog attack, going downtown for a pair of three-pointers as Tazewell moved out to a 12-3 advantage over the Tornado.
Ben Brown played a solid game at both ends of the court for Richlands.
Brown led the Blues with 16 points, a point ahead of Evan Meadows, who also played well for RHS.
The Tornado lost Kyle Call to fouls and Call was injured with 6:36 to play but was able to leave the court under his own power.
“It (losing) was tough,” said Brown. “Tazewell is always a tough game. We were hoping to make it a little closer. Without Gabe (Hunsaker) here — he’s out with an injury, we knew it would be harder. We wanted to take up for him. He got hurt the other night against Twin Valley.”
The Bulldogs led 42-23 at halftime and the teams battled on near even terms over the final two quarters as both coaches kept a varied lineup on the floor.
Juwan Jordan, who popped in 13 for the Bulldogs, noted, “Coach (Lee Walker) has been telling me to shoot the ball, take advantage of opportunities if I get them. I wanted to put some points on the board — help us win. That’s what we want to do.”
Coach Walker said, “It was a good game. It’s always nice to be able to see everybody get to play and watch them play well. We need to keep helping each other as we get closer to the end of the season and the beginning of the tournament.”
In the closing seconds, with the Dogs working to get a final bucket, it was Nathan Cline able to put back an offensive rebound for the shot that made “70” in the final regular season home game for Tazewell on Sweetheart Court night.
Haley Bradshaw was voted Queen of Hearts and John Wayne Absher King of Hearts by the students.
Catron, who fouled out in the second half, added 9 for the Bulldogs, Colin Hancock got 8 points and Christian Lewis pulled in 8 rebounds.
Richlands hit 19-of-31 at the line and Tazewell was 12-for-20 at the stripe.
Blue Tornado coach Jody Fuller concluded, “I thought Ben (Brown) and all the kids played hard. It was a little tough without Gabe (Hunsaker). He’s battled nagging injuries all season and I was hoping he’d have better luck during his senior year.”
Tazewell finishes the regular season with a pair of Southwest District games including one at Abindgon Tuesday and Carroll County Friday and Richlands hosts Carroll County Monday.
At Tazewell Middle School
RICHLANDS (2-14, 0-7)
Kyle Call 1, Trent Davis 4, Mark Sahyouni 4, J.T. Anderson 5, Ben Brown 16, Evan Meadows 15, Zach Johnson 3.
TAZEWELL (7-12, 2-4)
Juwan Jordan 13, Tanner Catron 9, Noah Walker 22, Christian Lewis 3, Nathan Cline 2, Colin Hancock 8, Isaac Santana 4, Jalen Jordan 7, Jesse Mountain 2.
Richlands...........................8 15 10 15 — 48
Tazewell............................22 20 20 8 — 70
Three-point goals — RIC 1 (Brown 1); TAZ 6 (Catron 2, Hancock 2, Juwan Jordan 2). Fouled out — RIC, Call. TAZ, Catron.