Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

January 16, 2014

Big border battle

Beavers chew up G-Men in crosstown game

BLUEFIELD — Glynn Carlock has seen enough of Anthony Eades, Lykel Collier, D.J. Edwards, Michael Yost and the rest of the Bluefield seniors.

Everyone else associated with Graham probably feels the same way.

“Since I have been here we haven’t lost any (to Graham) so I guess we are 8-0,” said Eades, one of six seniors for the Beavers. “It is a great rivalry, it is always competitive. They have had a good team all four years I have been here, it has always been a great rivalry. It has been a good game to play in.”

Eades scored 26 points to lead four Bluefield scorers in double figures, and the Beavers swept the season series from Graham 77-54 on Wednesday night at the Brushfork Armory.

For the Bluefield seniors, it marked four years of basketball and never losing to their crosstown rival.

“I never lost to Graham,” said Collier, whose third-ranked Beavers defeated No. 2 Wyoming East 69-44 on Tuesday night. “It was kind of emotional, this is my last time playing ever in high school playing against Graham.

“I am glad we got the win after the hard game we had last night. It is good we got a win tonight.”

Carlock won’t miss the Bluefield seniors, who are looking for their second straight Class AA state championship. Not only did Eades provide 26 points and three rebounds, but Collier contributed 11 points, 11 assists and four boards, while Edwards pulled down seven rebounds.

At least Yost didn’t hurt the G-Men. He is out for at least two weeks with a badly sprained right foot.

“I can honestly say I am glad that I don’t have to look at a few of these guys from Bluefield anymore,” Carlock said. “They have done a tremendous job with them and I wish them all the luck in the world, but I am going to go to bed tonight knowing I have looked at a few of these guys for four years and I don’t have to look at see them anymore.”

This one was more competitive than Bluefield’s 79-42 win over the G-Men early last month. The Beavers won this time by 23 points, but Graham was still within 38-25 at the break, and 57-41 going to the final period.

“It was much more competitive than it was the last time out,” said Carlock, whose G-Men travel to Mountain Empire District and Conference 39 foe Grayson County on Friday night. “We are a better ball club now than we were last time, at this stage in the game we can’t let this loss affect us.  

“We had won six in a row coming into this game...We are going to get in the gym tomorrow, correct the mistakes we need to and get ready for a big conference, district game on Friday night against Grayson.”

Bluefield (7-1) used its patented pressure defense to force seven first quarter turnovers, with Collier scoring eight points to pull the Beavers ahead 19-11 after the opening period.

“We always like to come out with a quick jump and get that comfortable lead and then play with it throughout,” Collier said. “We have got to get better playing and getting that lead every quarter instead of just jumping out real quick and just relaxing.

“We have got to put pressure on them every quarter.”

Bluefield did outscore the G-Men in all four periods. The Beavers made eight 3s, four by Eades and five from Jordan Ponder, who took Yost’s spot in the starting lineup and finished with 18 points and three steals.

“Jordan did a real good job, he played well last night against Wyoming East,” Eades said. “He stepped in great for us, he is going to play good until Yost comes back.

“When Yost comes back we will get back to rolling again. We can’t wait to get him back, but Jordan is doing really good.”

Graham (8-4), which beat Fort Chiswell 64-45 on Tuesday, was led by Tony Hood with 16 points and four rebounds, while Colby Hill added 14 points and three blocked shots. Thomas Clarke had 11 points, including three of the G-Men’s nine 3s.

Bluefield was able to take a 13-point lead at the break, forcing nine turnovers and making 14-of-24 shots from the field. Graham was 7-for-23 to trail 38-25 after two quarters.

“I wasn’t terribly displeased with how we played tonight,” Carlock said. “I felt like we battled. At the start of the second quarter we are down eight points and you can’t get in a hole when you play this group.

“You can’t get in a hole because you try to fight and climb your way and dig out of it and they just don’t let you.”

Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when the Beavers made 5-of-6 shots to open the half, eventually building its first 20-point lead at 55-35 on a pair of free throws by Eades with 2:12 on the clock.

“(Bluefield) does a good job, the whole team and staff does a good job of taking advantage of your mistakes and making you pay for it,” Carlock said.

Bluefield eventually pulled ahead by 25 before settling for the final margin.

“It is a great rivalry between two local communities,” Bluefield head coach Buster Large said. “They have got a first class program, a first class coach, and I am very happy that we were able to get the win tonight.”

Free throws were an issue for the Beavers, who made just 10-of-24 from the charity stripe. Graham made 15 of 20 attempts.

“We have got a lot of areas of improvement, one is free throw shooting, which we are going to start to work on tomorrow,” Large said. “You cannot be a state contending team or a good team that is going to make a run deep in March if you are going to shoot 10 of 24 from the free throw line.”

Bluefield won’t return to the court until Tuesday against Oak Hill, which will provide time for Yost to heal his foot, and allow the Beavers plenty of practice sessions to improve for the stretch of games ahead.

“We have just got to keep getting better,” Large said. “The next month is going to be critical. Everyone is working so hard, a lot of people are working hard, but I am very pleased to come out of this week with two wins.”

Now the G-Men can move on as well, and they never have to see certain members of the Beavers again.

“I know they have a good group, they have a good group of kids, they play hard, they are savvy and I wish them all the luck in the world,’ Carlock said,  “but I sure am glad next year we don’t have to look at them.”

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