Defense leads Tigerettes past Beavers
Bluefield (49) Vs. Princeton (54)
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BRUSHFORK— Opportunity knocked and Princeton answered.
A withering Tigerette man-to-man defense worked well and Bluefield's frosty inside shooting combined to power Princeton (12-4) to a second triumph over the Lady Beavers (12-5) as the Tigerettes earned a 54-49 win Thursday.
“We beat Bluefield 31-28 on December 1 at our gym so I told the girls to just come and play the same style tonight,” said Princeton coach Charles Angell. “It worked and I am so proud of the way we hung in there tonight. Bluefield has a fine ball club and to beat them is a big win for anybody. Our defense made Bluefield work really hard tonight.”
After Bluefield grabbed an early first half lead, Barker and Hall led a rally with Princeton finally building a 10-point advantage, 50-40, on a pair of free throws by Adrianna Mitchem with less than two minutes left in the contest.
Kaleigh Barker, who scored a dozen for Princeton, quickly got the Tigerettes on the board with a corner three-ball before Bluefield rattled off 9 straight points behind Autumn Spangler's shooting — five points — and Jia Coppola's inspired defense featuring a pair of blocks and steals.
Barker and Brittany Long sparked an 8-2 Princeton run, with Long's lane bucket tying the score at 11-all with 2:10 remaining the opening stanza. Coppola hit a buzzer-beating jumper as Bluefield grabbed a 13-11 advantage after one.
Sharp-shooting Danielle Hall, shooting with deadly accuracy, blasted home consecutive three-point shots from 22 feet away, pacing Princeton into 19-17 advantage midway through the second quarter. Hall would finish as the Tigerettes' top scorer with 14 points and her steady floor play late in the game was equally important.
“We just played tight man-to-man, and we shot the ball pretty well,” said Hall. “I was trying to keep the ball away from Bluefield at the end.”
Good defense by the Tigerettes kept Bluefield off balance for much of the contest.
Bluefield's Dani Janutolo and Alyssa Lester nailed back-to-back baskets, however, with less than two minutes to play before the break to help counter five consecutive missed free throws by the Lady Beavers before Brittany Long slipped inside to push Princeton in front 23-21 and the half ended in a 23-23 deadlock.
Barker said, “We took good shots and tried to deny those to Bluefield.”
Jaime Vest, Mitchem, and Day Day Eaves popped in successive scores in a 7-1 Tigerette run as Princeton posted a 30-24 advantage at the 4:23 mark of the third quarter. Bluefield remained strong on the boards but unable to hit inside shots as Princeton maintained offensive consistency.
Eaves fouled out with 2:12 remaining but hit a key bucket in the lane and grabbed five crucial rebounds.
She said, “When I caught the ball inside, I had to make that shot. Coach (Angell) would have taken me out if I had missed it,” she laughed, “but I knew my teammates would be in position. It worked out for us.”
Barker added six rebounds and two blocked shots for Princeton, while Mitchem grabbed five boards and notched four assists.
Led by Coppola's 14, the Lady Beavers had three double-digit scorers including Spangler (10) and Dani Janutolo (10). Coppola had two blocked shots, seven rebounds, and Janutolo had had blocks. Lester grabbed four steals for Bluefield.
“Tonight was Princeton's Super Bowl,” said Bluefield coach Tony Mallamaci, “and we'll try to focus on our goal of winning later on down the road at tournament time. Princeton was ready for this game.
“We did not shoot well, maybe we tried too hard, but I am happy with our effort and please with this team, overall. We have battled illness this week but that is no excuse. Give Princeton credit.”
Princeton was 15 of 31 at the free throw line and the Beavers made 14 for 20 at the stripe.
The Tigerettes host Oak Hill Monday with a 6 p.m. varsity start and Bluefield will play Saturday at Robert C. Byrd beginning at 2 p.m.

At Brushfork Armory
Danielle Hall 14, Kaleigh Barker 12, Adrianna Mitchem 7, Jaime Vest 7, Brittany Long 10, Day Day Eaves 4.
Alyssa Lester 7, Emaleigh Gallinger 4, Jia Coppola 14, Dani Janutolo 10, Autumn Spangler 10, Abby Atwell 4.
Princeton....................11 12 14 17 — 54
Bluefield......................13 10 8 18 — 49
Three-point goals -P, 4 (Hall-2, Barker-1, Vest-1). B,2 (Spangler -1, Lester-1). Fouled out - P (Eaves). JV -Princeton 39-30.
Game Scoreboard
Bluefield 13 10 8 18 0 49
Princeton 11 12 14 17 0 54
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