Second half run sends Beavers to sectional title g
Bluefield (66) Vs. James Monroe (30)
Feb 23, 2016
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PRINCETON — Aw, shoot.
Neither team could in the first half — missing a combined 55 shot — but Bluefield exploded in the third quarter and raced to a 66-30 triumph over outmanned James Monroe Tuesday in the Class AA, Region 3 Section 2 semifinals at Princeton.
Bluefield will play Pike View for the sectional title Thursday at 7 p.m.
Led by the all-around play of Jia Coppola and Dani Janutolo’s racehorse running, the Lady Beavers (14-6) blazed through a 24-2 run midway through the second half and coasted home to the win over James Monroe (7-16), despite a valiant effort from the Lady Mavericks who battled bravely throughout with a seven-player squad.
“We have been kind of sluggish for about 10 days or so,” said standout junior Coppola, who scored seven points but hauled down 17 rebounds and dished out 11 assists in a monster inside effort for the Lady Beavers. “In the second half, we got it together and began to play as a team. We knew we had to.”
After Bluefield zoomed to a quick 6-0 lead with three straight steal-and-score efforts, the Mavericks fired in six points on buckets from Chylyn Fox and a pair of scores by Gracie Mann, tying the tally at 6-6 with 4:00 on the first quarter clock.
Abby Atwell, inserted late in the first half, promptly drilled in a Bluefield baseline jumper before Mann answered with a 3-ball for the Lady Mavericks and then Alyssa Lester popped home a picture-perfect 10-footer to give Bluefield a 10-point advantage, 27-17, at the half.
After the break, the Beaver shooting finally hit home with Emaleigh Gallinger jump-starting the attack with two straight breakaway layups in the opening minute. Atwell, Janutolo, and Lester settled down and blazed away effectively against the out-gunned James Monroe ladies, whose attempts simply refused to fall.
Huffman, with a nifty assist from hard-working Kameryn Fields, finally broke the Maverick scoring drought on an inside bucket with only :20 left in the quarter.
Janutolo, zipping home with a game-high 22 points, grinned, “We all woke up after halftime. Finally, we started playing as a team and not like individuals. I think we showed ourselves how Beaver basketball is supposed to be played and we have to keep doing that so we can keep playing.”
The Bluefield starting lineup refined its rhythm in the final chapter, extending the lead to 39 points on Gallinger’s three-point play and coasted home to the triumph.
“Bluefield missed early and we continued to do the same,” sighed James Monroe coach Mike Hines. “We got lost on defense but we were playing a good team. Bluefield has a very solid top 7 and to be honest, we have played our season with a total of just seven since December 29, the last time we played the Lady Beavers.
“I am so proud of the heart of my girls. They could have folded but they did not. We were tired but everybody saw we were playing as hard at the end as at the beginning. There were times we had four freshman and a sophomore out there. I could not ask for more and our senior, Holly Huffman, hung in there and played her heart out for us. I was blessed to have some great young ladies this season.”
Atwell finished with eight for Bluefield while Autumn Spangler and Coppola notched seven each.
“We didn’t panic at halftime. We told the girls to keep playing hard and they responded really well,” Bluefield head coach Tony Mallamaci said. “Defensively, we backed out of our press a little and switched to a 3-2 zone to keep them (James Monroe) outside and that worked. They do not have a lot of depth so we tried to run and keep the tempo in our favor.
James Monroe was led by Mann with nine points and Kelli Ellison got five.
The Lady Mavs hit 3-for-5 at the free throw line and Bluefield sparkled with a 12-for-16 effort at the stripe.
“Give them credit, they played us very hard right to the final minute. I was very pleased with our effort, too, with Abby coming in and giving us a spark. Dani got back into running like a deer again, and I can’t say enough about the way Jia controlled the inside game all night – a great job,” Mallamaci said. “Alyssa did very well running the offense, and if our shooting had been more on target early, we could have put up many more points.
“We’ll take this one, practice hard Wednesday and try to bring our ‘A’ game Thursday.”
James Monroe concluded its season with a 7-16 record.

at Princeton Senior High School
Chylyn Fox 5, Gracie Mann 9, Holly Huffman 8. Morgan Wylie 3. Kelli Ellison 5.
Autumn Spangler 7, Emaliegh Gallinger 8, Dani Janutolo 22, Alyssa Lester 10, Jia Coppola 7, Abby Atwell 8, Lamaaj Wallace 2, Emilee Beggs 2.
At Princeton Senior High School
James Monroe..................7 10 2 11 — 30
Bluefield.........................14 13 16 23 — 66
Three-point goals – JM, 3 (Fox-1, Mann-1, Ellison -1). Fouled out – none.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Bluefield 14 16 13 23 0 66
James Monroe 7 10 2 11 0 30
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