The Bluefield Beavers applied it and it worked against the Graham G-Men. The Beavers forced 20 turnovers and rolled to a 75-32 win over their cross-town rivals Friday night at the Brushfork Armory before a near-capacity crowd.
Lykel Collier scored 18 points, dished out eight assists, had three steals and grabbed four rebounds to pace the Beavers (2-0) to the win.
Bluefield head coach Buster Large said, “We had a lot of momentum going our way, the excitement of getting to play here at the armory. By all means they (Graham) are a quality team. Any time you’re 5-1 you’ve done something right.
“Our kids played hard, I thought their kids played hard. There was great sportsmanship on both sides and I was very happy to see a crowd like this come out and support both teams.”
Graham’s Zach Proffitt scored the game’s first basket 30 seconds into the game and it would be the only lead the G-Men (5-2) would have in the contest. D.J. Edwards knotted it at two before Bluefield went on a 9-0 run.
The G-Men’s misfortunes started racking up early in the game as point guard Tony Hood, their commander on the court and a dangerous shooting threat, went to the bench with 3:37 to play in the first with his second personal foul.
Collier took command early driving, scoring and also dishing off to the open Beavers for scores. His 11 first period points helped the Beavers build their lead and his bucket and free throw in the final seconds of the opening frame gave Bluefield a 22-8 lead after one.
The Beavers kicked it up a notch in the second, running the transition game and scoring on the break. Collier’s bucket with six minutes to go in the quarter put Bluefield up by 20 points.
“He (Collier) is our floor general,” Large said. “When he goes, we go. He just makes everybody around him better.”
All was not good for Bluefield, however, as their two big men, Edwards and Corey Coppola, both picked up their third fouls and sat considerable time on Beavers bench. Midway through the second stanza Graham was in the double bonus, but the G-Men made only two-of-eight charity tosses.
Bluefield carried a 30-point lead into the break, 46-16.
Graham came out in the third and on its first two possessions got the ball down low to Proffitt, who dropped two baskets through the rim, but Bluefield adjusted and the G-Men struggled from the paint and perimeter.
Bluefield’s lead continued to grow, getting as high as 42 points as the Beavers carried a 67-26 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Large cleared his bench to start the final eight minutes and reserves finished for Graham coach Glynn Carlock, Jr.
In addition to Collier’s 18, Jordan Ponder came off the bench to score 12, while Michael Yost and Anthony Eades tallied 10 each.
“I am also pleased tonight because we got quality minutes off our bench,” Large said. “We had guys like David Woodrum, Dakota Smalls and Jordan Ponder, they gave us quality minutes and were productive.”
Graham’s top scorer was Proffitt with 11.
Following the game a dejected Carlock had little to say about the contest.
“Right now they are a better team. We just have to get better,” Carlock said.
It’s five game winning streak snapped, Graham returns to the court on Dec. 27 in the Ft. Chiswell Christmas Tournament againt Floyd County.
The Beavers return to action next Friday as they host the Bluefield Invitational at the Brushfork Armory. In the opening game at 5:45 Scott will take on Oak Hill, while Bluefield will battle Galax in the nightcap. On Saturday, Dec. 22 the 5:45 game will feature Oak Hill against Galax, while the final game will pit the Beavers against Scott.
At Brushfork Armory
Tony Hood 1 1-3 2, Spencer Sheets 2 2-5 6, Roman Workman 0 0-1 0, Sam Stowers 0 0-0 0, Marshall Hawley 1 0-0 2, Colby Hill 1 5-6 7, Zach Proffitt 5 1-3 11, Jacob Simpson 0 0-0 0, Tim Clarke 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Figueroa 0 0-0 0, Josh Altizer 0 0-0 0, Totals 11 0-18 32.
Dakota Smalls 3 0-0 6, Brandon Lilly 0 0-0 0, D.J. Edwards 3 0-0 6, Anthony Eades 4 2-5 10, Lykel Collier 7 3-3 18, Trevor Mullins 0 0-0 0, Michael Yost 3 2-4 10, Jordan Ponder 5 0-0 12, David Woodrum 4 0-0 9, Corey Coppola 2 0-0 4, Aaron Miller 0 0-0 0, Totals 31 7-12 75
Graham..................................8 8 10 6 — 32
Bluefield................................22 24 21 8 — 75
Three point baskets: Graham-none. Bluefield - Collier, Yost 2, Ponder 2, Woodrum. Fouled out: None. Technicals: None.