Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

June 11, 2014

Bluefield duo among the best in area hoops history

BLUEFIELD — An era just ended at Bluefield High School. Two of the most prolific players in BHS hoops history walked across the stage at the Brushfork Armory, where they played their final two years of basketball and are now moving on to play at the collegiate level.

The names Lykel Collier and Anthony Eades are at the top of quite a few categories in the BHS basketball record books. Both players started their careers as freshmen for coach Buster Large. After playing to a sub-par year according to Bluefield standards, winning “only” 13 games, those two and the Beavers went on to play in three straight championship games, winning the last two.

Eades left BHS as the school’s all-time scorer with 1,808 points. He was a three-time first team All-State selection and was captain of the honor squad this past season. He was the Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Year in both his junior and senior seasons.

Collier was a four-year starter for the Beavers and holds the school record for games played with more than 100 and is the school’s all-time assist leader. He was a two-time first team All-State selection and was second team selection as a sophomore. His 1,418 points rank him as the fourth leading scorer in BHS history. Collier was Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Year as a sophomore.

Bluefield sports enthusiast Terry Lewis posed the question to us in the BDT sports department whether there was a similar duo in the area that accomplished what Collier and Eades did in their careers.

First of all, they all played a year more than most of the duos that come to my mind. In the ‘70s and ‘80s Princeton and Northfork were grades 10-12, so it would not have been possible for a pair to play together, but in picking my mind I came up with a pretty good trio and a continuous group that had success.

Eades father Mike, along with Jimmy Miller and James DeWitt were a dangerous trio for the Princeton Tigers and their championship runs of 1979 and 1981.  That ‘79 team featured Alan Wiliams who went on to play at Duke.

Northfork, there were too many to name and they all overlapped — Mark Page, Anthony “String” Harris, Scottie Todd, Russell Todd, Jesse Fields and it goes on and on. The Blue Demons were loaded from 1971 until 1984. The only breaks in their championships in those years were Mullens in ‘72, Gary in ‘73, Wheeling Central in ‘82 and Williamson in ‘83.

In my hometown of Gary, I grew up hearing the stories of the Hamilton brothers. Dave and Laddy helped the Gary District Bulldogs to the state championship in 1962 and later went on to have stellar careers at West Virginia State.

A decade later their youngest brother Paul along and with John Billips led the Gary Coaldiggers to the state championship in 1973.  Billips went on to captain the Ole Miss Rebels and Hamilton played I think at Livingston College. Sorry if I got that wrong, Paul. Those guys were two of our “heroes” on the playground in Gary Bottom when we tried to play basketball.

A new page will be etched in the Bluefield High School history books beginning with the next basketball season and a new cast of characters can make their mark. While Eades and Collier may have led the way, we cannot forget the play of Michael Yost and D.J. Edwards. All four of those players were at least three-year starters and played vital roles in Bluefield’s on-court success. Their legacy will live on.

Bob Redd is a Daily Telegraph sportswriter. Contact him at bredd@bdtonline.com, Twitter @bdtredd

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