By GARY DOVE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Bluefield broke a 46-all tie at the 2:55 mark of last evening's girls' basketball game against Mount View to outscore the Lady Golden Knights 9-4 down the stretch for a 55-50 victory at the Castle.
Junior Jesslyn Fullerton came out of a timeout and bombed a three from deep in the right corner to give the Lady Beavers a 49-46 lead before going coast-to-coast after grabbing a defensive rebound to add a two point bucket, with only 43 ticks gone off the clock from that final deadlock.
Shella Hopkins added a deuce and a charity toss down the stretch, while Destiny Sims sandwiched a free throw between those two Hopkins' scores for the final.
Bluefield led all of the first half, other than ties at 2 and 18, holding a 25-22 advantage at the intermission.
The visitors looked to break the game open midway through the second quarter with an 18-11 lead before the Lady View scored seven unanswered points to produce the 18-18 count.
Senior Gezelle Brown started the run with a deuce, followed by an Ashley Belfiore three from the left wing. Jordan Younger wrapped up the spurt from close range.
A 2-2-1 Bluefield press, along with much more physical play on the boards in the opening half, led to the Lady Beavers controlling the action.
Hopkins, who paced the Bluefield quintet with 15 points, scored six in the first two chapters.
Sims bombed a trifecta with 6:56 showing in the third to again threaten a blow-out before the Lady Knights ran off the final 13 points of the period for a 36-32 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Belfiore, who took game scoring honors with 16 points, scored seven during that stretch. Brown added three, all on free throws, to close out the third.
The Lady View scored 10 of their 14 third quarter points at the charity stripe.
Dazia Edwards scored eight of her nine points in the contest in the first 4:08 of the fourth, including a basket following a steal with 4:23 remaining to produce the second lead change and give her team the advantage for keeps.
Hopkins followed that goal with a turnaround jumper, but Shyrell Johnson downed a trey from the front for a 44-all tie.
Hopkins pushed her club back on top, but Johnson again knotted the score, this time with two free throws, at the aforementioned 2:55 mark.
Explained Bluefield head coach Tony Mallamaci of his club's strategy from that point, "We get the ball to Coco (Hopkins) inside and she's hard to stop. We put our shooter on the same side, so she (Hopkins) can kick it out. On the first play, she (Fullerton) hit that three."
He continued of the Lady Knights, "They've got one of the best man defenses we've played. They're hard to do anything with, no matter what you do."
Bluefield moves to 8-5 with the decision and will entertain River View Friday.
Speaking of her halftime instructions, Lady Golden Knight head coach Yvonne Brown related, "I told them 'You're going to have to get physical.' The girls played hard and they didn't give up."
Mount View, now 7-3, will host Man, also on Friday night.
Brown and Younger scored 13 and 10 points respectively for the Knights, behind Belfiore's 16.
Sims finished with a dozen and Fullerton ten to aid Hopkins' 15.
At Mount View High School
Kaitlyn Thompson 2 0-0 4, Destiny Sims 4 2-5 12, Dazia Edwards 2 5-7 9, Khadijah Brown 0 0-2 0, Jessica Hayden 1 0-0 3, Jesslyn Fullerton 3 2-3 10, Abby Atwell 1 0-0 2, Shella Hopkins 5 4-12 15. Totals 18 13-29 55.
MOUNT VIEW (50)
Ashleigh Belfiore 5 3-3 16, Jordan Younger 2 6-8 10, Shyrell Johnson 1 2-4 5, Shamecca Perkins 0 2-2 2, Gezelle Brown 4 5-14 13, Jasmine Lash 0 2-2 2, Keisha Johnson 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 20-33 50.
Bluefield..............................10 15 7 23 — 55
Mount View...........................6 16 14 14 — 50
Three Point Goals: B 6 (Sims 2, Fullerton 2, Hayden 1, Hopkins 1). MV 4 (Belfiore 3, S. Johnson 1).
Fouled Out: B (T. Jackson, Atwell). MV (Younger, V. Bright).
No JV game