Bobcats avenge lone loss
Bluefield (45) Vs. Summers County (63)
Feb 18, 2016
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BRUSHFORK -— Art 101. Summers County worked well inside the paint and brushed Bluefield aside 63-45 Thursday at the Brushfork Armory.
The No. 2-ranked Lady Bobcats (19-1) avenged an 82-71 home loss to the Lady Beavers (13-6) back on Jan. 29, their only defeat of the season. Summers County, fresh off a big win over Wyoming East, was more crisp than Bluefield, which may have been a bit sluggish after the recent long layoff during the snow storm.
Brittney Justice was sharp and crisp for the 'Cats, pouring in a game-high 23 points, including a dozen in the first quarter, and teaming with Whitney Justice (16) for 39 of the Summers County points. Alyssa Lester (12), who was also a key in the early going for Bluefield and Dani Janutolo (11) were the top scorers for the Lady Beavers.
Bluefield fell behind early, tied the score with three minutes left in the third quarter, and then got caught in a late Summers surge that gathered steady momentum in the fourth frame.
Brittney Justice ignited the Bobcat battle plan, going inside and around the Bluefield defense for a blistering 12 points in the first quarter, sparking Summers County to an 18-13 advantage. Whittney Justice made an early 3-point play as Summers County jumped ahead 5-0 before Emaleigh Gallinger got the Beavers on the board, scoring the first points for the home team with 5:35 on the first quarter clock.
Lester, shooting over the Lady Bobcats 3-2 zone, dropped home a pair of early scores. Dani Janutolo fired up a three-pointer in the opening chapter for the Lady Beavers, whose closest move to Summers County was a 12-10 margin when Autumn Spangler scored down the lane and converted a free throw.
Summers County invited Bluefield to shoot from outside and although the Lady Beavers slipped through for a myriad of inside chances in the second stanza, missed lay-ups consistently prevented the Beavers from closing the gap.
“We just didn't execute like we should have,” noted Janutolo. “We have to have better teamwork than we did tonight, and we will work on that.”
The two teams battled on relatively even terms in the second quarter, although the Beavers were hampered when standout junior Jia Coppola suffered her third foul of the contest with 1:15 left before halftime. That was a key part of the Summers game plan, as it turned out.
“One of our main goals was to try to stop Jia,” noted Brittney Justice. “She is a real fine player and very important to Bluefield's success. We did a much better job tonight than we did in that first game.”
Coppola finished with eight points while Autumn Spangler and Gallinger got seven apiece.
Lester, with a strong effort for Bluefield, again stepped up in the opening moment of the third quarter, draining a three and then firing up a baseline bucket as the Beavers cut the deficit to three, 28-25. Hannah Taylor answered in dramatic fashion with back-to-back layups giving Summers County a 32-27 margin. Janutolo's bucket and Coppola's free throw cut the margin to two, 32-20, at the 4:25 mark of the third quarter.
Taylor, showing determination, again scored on two freebies and it was 34-30. Gallinger and Coppola scored with the second basket tying the score at 34-all with 3:00 left in the third quarter.
Morgan Miller's three, a pair of free throws by Taylor, and a foul point by Justice were enough for a quick 6-0 Summers run and a 40-34 advantage before Coppola scored inside for Bluefield.
A steady alternation of big plays by the Bobcats kept Bluefield off balance late in the second half.
“There were two good teams here tonight,” noted Summers County coach Wayne Ryan. “We went at each other pretty hard. After we lost to them (Bluefield) we knew we needed to make some changes, especially in preventing some of those transition lay-ups.
“We did have several players do well tonight, and we are fortunate to have ladies who can do that at various times and in certain situations. We have success in part because our team does that — we help each other.”
Bluefield mentor Tony Mallamaci concluded, “No excuses. We knew what Summers County was going to try against us, but give them credit — they just executed it so well we were not able to contain them.
“We did not shoot well at times, but I saw signs of some good things from our team. We know what we need to do. We'll get back in the gym, iron some things out and come back next week ready for sectionals.”
Bluefield was 11-of-17 at the line while Summers County hit 14-of-21 at the stripe. Taylor led the Bobcats with seven rebounds
Summers County will host Independence tonight while Bluefield's next game will be Tuesday at Princeton in the Region 3, Section 2 sectional semifinals against the winner of Mount View and James Monroe.
Summers County won the junior varsity game, 30-16.

At Brushfork Armory
Hannah Taylor 9, Morgan Miller 5, Tiffani Cline 8, Brittney Justice 23, Whitney Justice 16, Jordan Sigmon 2.
Autumn Spangler 7, Alyssa Lester 12, Jia Coppola 8, Dani Janutolo 11, Emaleigh Gallinger 7.
Summers County........18 10 12 23 — 63
Bluefield.......................13 7 16 9 — 45
Three-point goals - S, (M. Miller-1, B. Justice -1, W. Justice-1). B, 2 (Janutolo-1, Lester-1).JV - Summers Co. 30, BHS 16.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Bluefield 13 7 16 9 0 45
Summers County 18 10 12 23 0 63
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