The Bluefield Lady Beavers jumped out to a 17-0 lead after one quarter Tuesday night, turning the semi-final game against Mount View into a Knightmare, as the Lady Knights tried to climb out of that hole the remainder of the evening.
At the final horn, Bluefield claimed a 59-36 victory.
While Tyra Jackson and Destiney Sims scored five and four points respectively in the inaugural frame for the Lady Beavers, it was a diamond full court press that paid huge dividends, along with a 2-3 zone when Mount View would solve the press.
Related Bluefield head coach Tony Mallamaci of his team’s press, “We haven’t been a pressing team too much this year. We’re pretty much a 2-3 team. They (Lady Knights) have so many good shooters, we wanted to try to do something to break their rhythm. The last time we played them, I think they hit five or six threes. We just tried to do something to keep them from getting set (to shoot).”
“ We didn’t start pressing until about three or four games ago. It’s getting better, but it still has a way to go,” continued the veteran head coach.
Mount View may disagree with that last statement, as the swarming press kept the View completely out of any offense well into the second quarter. In fact, the initial five Lady Knight points came from the charity stripe before junior Keisha Johnson bombed a trey from the front with 2:15 remaining in the half.
That temporarily ignited the View offense, as the Lady Knights went on a 12-2 run to close the first two chapters, equaling Bluefield’s 17 points in the second quarter, but trailing 34-17 at intermission.
Sims added eight more of her game high sixteen in the second, while Dacia Edwards contributed five.
The Lady Beavers came out of the press to open the second half, but kept the defensive pressure on the McDowell Countians, limiting them to only three points in the frame, while Bluefield, while Jackson, Jesslyn Fullerton, Essence Brown and Deja Taxley all scored four points for the Lady Beavers.
In the fourth, Mallamaci emptied his bench, as Mount View outgunned the Lady Beavers 16-9 to pull to within the final 59-36 margin.
Brown followed Sims’ 16 points with 10, while Jackson concluded her night’s work with nine and Fullerton chipped in seven. In all, nine Lady Beavers got into the scoring act.
Johnson topped the Lady Knights with 11, followed by Tamia Joyce’s nine.
Mount View head coach Harold Smith reflected on the season, rather than the setback, “I’m proud of the girls. I know they’ve come a long way. Most of them are ninth and tenth graders. With a little more hard work, we’re going to be a good team and I know it. I’m proud of them.”
Only Gezelle Brown and Victoria Bright are seniors on the Lady Knights, who conclude the season 12-7.
Bluefield, now 10-8, will square off against PikeView Thursday evening for the Class AA Region III Section 2 championship.
At Princeton High School
MOUNT VIEW (12-7)
Tamia Joyce 2 4-4 9, Keisha Johnson 5 0-1 11, Jasmine Lash 0 3-6 3, Victoria Bright 1 1-2 3, Katelyn Gillespie 1 0-0 2, Kenisha Swanson 2 0-0 5, Chantel Vineyard 1 1-4 3. Totals 12 9-17 36.
Tyra Jackson 3 3-3 9, Jesslyn Fullerton 3 1-4 7, Katelyn Browning 0 0-2 0, Essence Brown 4 2-7 10, Jessica Hayden 1 0-0 3, Dacia Edwards 1 3-6 5, Destiny Sims 6 4-5 16, Jamaikah Wallace 0 0-2 0, Deja Taxley 0 4-4 4, Teryn Auville 1 1-4 3, Courtney Auville 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 18-37 59.
Mount View.......................0 17 3 16 — 36
Bluefield..........................17 17 16 9 — 59
3-point goals: MV - 3 (Joyce 1, K. Johnson 1, Swanson 1); B - 1 (Hayden 1). Fouled out: MV - Joyce, G. Brown, Bright; B - none.