By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
On Monday, Wyoming East jumped Bluefield in the state poll of top Class AA teams.
On Tuesday night, Bluefield jumped right back at them.
The Beavers, now ranked third in Class AA, met early challenges from the Warriors and pulled away in the second half to hand the No. 2 team in the poll a 69-44 defeat at the Brushfork Armory — the first loss of the season for Wyoming East (6-1).
The defense for Bluefield (6-1) held the Warriors to 15 for 49 shooting from the floor, while the Beavers made slightly more than half their shots, going 26 for 51.
Bluefield was without senior starter Michael Yost, who injured his foot on Saturday. In his place, several Beavers hit the floor to take up the defensive slack.
“Character win,” said Bluefield head coach Buster Large. “We had our backs to the wall, with everything that happened this weekend. We had to make some quick changes, get some people ready.”
“We challenged our young men, and they played with a lot of character, a lot of heart, a lot of desire. And we got a lot of help off the bench with a lot of quality players.”
Bluefield blocked three of the Warriors’ first six shots, but briefly fell behind 8-7 on a long-range shot from Christian Hedinger. Bluefield’s Azir Price nailed a couple of 3-pointers in a 10-3 run after that to close out the quarter, as the Beavers took a 17-11 lead.
The Beavers scored five unanswered points at the end of the first half to go ahead 31-22.
It was more of the same to begin the second half, as Wyoming East started 0 for 7 from the field while Bluefield attacked the paint and went on a 10-2 run.
Wyoming East head coach Rory Chapman said, “We played with them for almost two quarters, had a little spurt before the half ... . They came out the second half, they hit a couple of shots, and never really crawled back in after that.”
The nail was placed in the coffin lid when the Warriors’ Austin Canada picked up his fourth foul with 2:49 left in the third quarter and was taken out of the game. He returned, but fouled out late.
Chapman said, “It’s just hard to take Austin out of our lineup. He does so much stuff for us. ... So when you take him out, it sure is going to put you at a disadvantage.”
With play stopped after Canada left the floor, Michael Eades canned a pair of free throws to end his night with 15 points. Lykel Collier also scored 15 points.
After Eades’ free throws, Bluefield put in four substitutes, who were able to score seven points while Wyoming East scored eight. The Warriors’ last field goals were a pair of 3-pointers from near midcourt by Hedinger, who led all scorers with 18 points.
Canada finished with 11, but only two after halftime. David Carte added 10 points.
Large said, “They’ve got a great team ... a quality program, but I’ve got to take my hat off to our kids. They came to play. They hustled, they scrapped, they got after loose balls.”
“We got off to a slow start, but we kept scrapping around, and banging around, and we did what we set out to accomplish.”
Bluefield forced 14 turnovers and recorded six blocks and eight steals.
The Beavers will play host Graham this evening in Brushfork. Wyoming East begins a three-game homestand on Friday, hosting PikeView.
Chapman said, “We’ve just got to move on. It’s one game. We’ll get to see these guys two, maybe three more times this year. We’ll get better. We’ll keep getting better, and we’ll keep working hard.”
— Contact Tom Bone at
At Brushfork Armory
Jacob Dulcie 0 0-2 0, Austin Canada 3 3-4 11, John Morgan 1 0-0 2, Logan Blankenship 0 0-1 0, Christian Hedinger 6 2-2 18, Jordan Hayes 0 1-2 1, David Carte 4 2-2 10, Alec Lusk 1 0-0 2. Totals 15 8-13 44.
Dakota Smalls 1 0-0 2, Jeremy Thompson 2 0-0 4, D.J. Edwards 4 1-2 9, Anthony Eades 5 4-6 15, Lykel Collier 4 6-10 15, Jordan Ponder 1 0-0 3, Corey Coppola 3 0-0 6, Matthew Woodrum 2 0-0 4, Azir Price 2 0-0 6, Jordan Huckleberry 2 1-2 5. Totals 26 12-22 69.
Summers County.............11 11 10 12 — 44
Bluefield.........................17 14 14 24 — 69
3-point goals — WE 6 (Hedinger 4, Canada 2). B 5 (Eades 1, Collier 1, Ponder 1, Price 2). Fouled out: Canada. Technical foul: WE bench.