BLUEFIELD — Stopping the Bluefield boys basketball from scoring is a difficult task for any team as they average 77.8 points a game.
Add in foul trouble and Princeton was almost powerless to play press defense in a 97-65 loss to the Beavers at the Brushfork Armory.
“It was a fun game, coming here Senior Night and just doing our thing and getting the win. It was special,” Bluefield senior Braeden Crews said.
Bluefield (16-3) has won nine in a row and scored over 80 points in seven of the last eight games. The Beavers battled some foul trouble but were still able to put together a strong four quarters with different players stepping up throughout.
“We really emphasized that we needed to play four solid quarters tonight and I felt like we did,” Bluefield head coach Buster Large said.
Crews led the Beavers with 26 points including 17 in the first half when the team battled fouls for both of its post players.
Sean Martin only played four minutes in the first half as he picked up quick fouls while Jahiem House also collected a pair of fouls faced with the tough task of stopping Ethan Parsons.
Four of the five starters for the Tigers (13-7) had three fouls at the break, including one with four, which forced them to be less aggressive.
“It’s definitely tough to play a really, really good team when your whole starting team is in foul trouble,” Princeton head coach Robb Williams said.
Bluefield jumped out to a 14-3 lead as it was sharing the ball very well against the Princeton zone defense. The team had 27 assists with Crews dishing out seven along with six for Tyrese Hairston and five for Kaulin Parris.
The Beavers made 57 percent of their shots with six players scoring at least eight points.
“When we share the ball well we know good things are going to come to us cause we can score inside, we got the shooters that can knock down shots outside,” Crews said.
Three players scored 20 or more points for Bluefield with Martin adding in 21 only missing one shot.
“Every one of us has the confidence to score the ball, we know all of us can so its just really fun playing with these guys,” Crews said.
Hairston scored a career-high 20 points along with three steals. He was able to use his speed to get in transition and beat the Tigers at the rim.
“We practice playing in transition, whoever open down the court just try to give it to them,” Hairston said.
The foul trouble hampered Princeton not only on the defensive end but offensive with players having to take seats on the bench. Jon Wellman led the Tigers with 15 points with Parsons chipping in 13 and 12 for Delathan Wilborn.
Princeton cut the lead to six late in the second quarter but Bluefield went on a 7-0 run and in the third quarter a 7-0 run for the Tigers cut into the lead but they could not continue it once the fourth quarter started.
“They’re a great them, they played well. Our boys fought well, we had an opportunity midway through the third then they slowly pulled away,” Williams said.
Martin had played under 10 total minutes through the first three quarter for Bluefield but they turned to him in the fourth quarter where he scored 12 points.
He was also protected the rim on the defensive end of the court with six blocks to bring his total for the season up to 74 and grabbed seven rebounds.
All 10 of Parris’ points came in the first half and he also grabbed 11 rebounds for the double-double.
House had eight points while Caden Fuller knocked down a trio of three-pointers off the bench for the Beavers.
Bluefield is motivation to get back to the state tournament for a ninth straight year and attempt to win a state title that has eluded the group of seniors.
“These kids want go get back to Charleston and they’re playing at a very high level. It has got to carry on the next three games,” Large said.
Bluefield continues its four-game home stand today with a 2:15 p.m. game against Fairmont Senior which it lost to in the state semifinals last year. Princeton hosts Greenbrier East Monday in a game between two sectional opponents which had to be rescheduled due to bad weather.