There are no holes in Anthony Eades’ game.
Confident with his shot and committed to defense, the Bluefield High senior had arguably one of his best games of the season Friday night, scoring 28 points in the Beavers’ 76-52 sectional championship win over the PikeView Panthers.
“PikeView’s a good team, so we knew we had to be aggressive on defense,” Eades said in the hot Princeton Senior High gym. “That’s what we worked on (Thursday) in practice, being all over the place. That’s how we play and that’s how we win.”
Bluefield head coach Buster Large said, “Defense is the key to our game. We’ve been playing outstanding defense all year long, and I feel that my assistant coaches — Coach Tony Webster, Don Jones, David Hubbard — have contributed a major factor in that.”
Eades said, “We had to be intense. (Jason) Weitzel’s a good ball handler, so we had to press him, and force him to make some turnovers, which we did.”
Weitzel wasn’t the only one. Bluefield stole the ball 17 times. Eades generated two of those on back-to-back plays before the fourth quarter was a minute old.
The first he turned into a quick jumper for a 57-38 lead. Following the second, he went to the line after being fouled and hit one of two foul shots.
Moments later, PikeView’s Weitzel was called for traveling and the ball was quickly passed downcourt to Eades. He popped a 3 from the left side and ended his personal 6-0 run.
That formed the heart of 19 straight Bluefield points that resulted in an insurmountable 65-38 advantage with 5:44 left.
With defensive intensity sometimes comes over-reaching. Eades had incurred only one foul at halftime, but was whistled for his third and fourth fouls on consecutive plays in the fourth quarter — then was assessed the game’s only technical, which fouled him out of the contest, with 5:21 left.
By that time, though, he had nailed five of the Beavers’ nine 3-point shots and gone 5 for 6 at the free throw line.
“Somebody had to knock down some shots, so I did. I did my thing,” Eades said. “But all the credit goes to my teammates. I was running off screens. Lykel (Collier) did a great job getting me the ball.”
PikeView head coach Lindsey Jones said about the Panthers, “The guys had confidence that we could come in here and win. You’ve got to really give Bluefield credit. They really hit some big shots when they needed to.”
The Panthers got within eight at 46-38 midway through the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Seth Wood, then Jones called timeout.
Eades was asked to describe the Bluefield sideline at that point.
“The coaches jumped us,” He said. “Told us we’ve got to get back in the game, and what they said, worked. We needed that. Our defense was sluggish, so we got back on it, and it worked.”
“Then the momentum shifted right back to us.”
Jones said, “They (Bluefield) did come out and make a little run, but when Eades shoots like he did tonight — ”
The coach did not finish that sentence, but laughed softly, the kind of laugh that speaks volumes about facing a talent like Eades.
Eades is now done playing for the Beavers in the Princeton gym — where his father’s name is inscribed on the school’s hall of fame plaque beside one of the gym doors.
The Bluefield senior said, “I like playing here. It’s cool.” He then allowed that playing in the PSHS gym is “different; the backdrop is different.”
The Region 3 co-final next Thursday will be back in the Beavers’ home, the Brushfork Armory.
“That’s a huge advantage,” Eades said. “Anytime we play at the armory, we get a good crowd — thousands of people there. It always works out good for us when we play at home.
“We’re undefeated there the last two years, so hopefully that’ll keep going.”
“We’ve got the best fans in the state as far as I’m concerned. They go everywhere we go, and support us.”
Large said, “We’re just so happy to be playing Thursday night, and playing on our home court in front of a Bluefield crowd.”
We surely want to thank all these Bluefield folks and fans who came out tonight too, because they’ve been very supportive all year.”
“It’s going to be a big night, Thursday.”
— Contact Tom Bone at
There are no holes in Anthony Eades’ game.
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