Beavers get revenge on Princeton
Bluefield (73) Vs. Princeton (41)
Feb 27, 2016
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BRUSHFORK — There is more than one way to skin a cat.
A trio of twelfth graders played well on Senior Night, the Bluefield Beavers went inside and outside to break open a tight game, and used a sizzling second half to down the Princeton Tigers 71-48 Saturday in a Mercer County showdown.
Bluefield (13-6) avenged a season-opening road loss to Princeton (9-9) in the regular season finale for both teams.
Super sophomore Mookie Collier led BHS with a game-high 24 points, joined by Jeremy Thompson, who poured in 20 for the Beaves, who open AA Region 3 Section 2 against Mount View Monday at 5:30 — at Princeton — while the Tigers travel to take on Greenbrier East in AAA Region Section 2 action at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Collier, Thompson, and Dyon Wright ignited a Bluefield 8-2 run to open the action. Princeton’s Jacob Whittington and Cole Cochran helped to bring PHS back to within two, at 8-6, before the Beavers again pulled away behind a Jaray Williams score and Thompson trey to grab a 15-9 first quarter lead.
Cochran’s bucket and free throw got the visiting Tigers to within three, at 17-14, midway through the second stanza but it would be the closest that Princeton could get to the blazing Beavers for the rest of the evening.
Once Bluefield found its rhythm, as in the final 1:42 of the first half when the Beavers held the ball and then got a buzzer-beating trey from Collier to end the half, the issue was not seriously in doubt again.
Thompson and Collier were the 1-2 punch that hit the scoreboard hard, the key men in a 12-point run extending Bluefield’s advantage to 16 points, 38-22, with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter.
Whittington, working hard for his team, punched home a pair of quick lay-ups for PHS near the four-minute mark of the third period to briefly halt the home team surge. Aided by smooth play from senior Wright, fellow senior Thompson and Jaray Williams, Bluefield continued to add to the advantage. Williams dropped in 11 for Bluefield, the third double-digit man for the Beavers. Dominick Taxley also had a solid effort f or the Beavers.
BHS built a lead of more than 25 points late in the contest and both teams substituted freely in the fourth quarter.
“We practiced hard all week for what we thought Princeton was going to do,” said Thompson, whose effort at both ends of the floor was key to the win. “We expected that (2-3) zone from them and were able to come out and play well against it. It was a good feeing to come out and play like this in our last regular season game and send the seniors out winners. I am very happy with our game tonight.”
Princeton, which topped Bluefield 60-45 on Dec. 1, had problems but still had a good effort against a much-improved BHS squad, as Tiger coach Ernie Gilliard noted.
“Finishing .500 against a quality team like Bluefield — not too bad when you look at it like that,” he said. “Bluefield has a great basketball team and terrific coaching. They have developed a rhythm. Tonight, their shots were dropping against us.
“We had too many ‘empty possessions’ when we missed and then gave up scores at the other end. You simply cannot afford to do that against a quality opponent. Had we shot better, as they (Bluefield) did, the situation could have been much different.
“Our hats are off to Bluefield -- they had a little more bounce in their legs than we did tonight. Now we will get back in our gym for couple of days of practice and prepare for a very good Greenbrier East team.”
Collier, displaying a variety of skills, was happy for his team and the seniors.
“This (win) is wonderful,” he grinned. “We all wanted to get this win for the seniors in their last game at the Armory and to win it against our rival, Princeton, especially after they beat us earlier, is special.
“After that first game, we got together and decided to do whatever we had to in order to get better. This week, we knew Princeton, which has an amazing zone defense, would be ready to play hard. We were able to execute well, get a lead and make some shots. Great ball game -- great feeling.”
Whittington paced Princeton with 13 points including a pair of treys and Colton Fix added 10 for the Tigers.
The Tigers finished 10-of-22 at the line while Bluefield hit 15-for-22 from the stripe.
“We are so pleased for our seniors, Jeremy Thompson, Jaray Williams, and Dyon Wright, who came out here tonight and played their hearts out with a big win against Princeton,” Large said.
Bluefield senior Tyler Easley had to miss the contest due to a school-related activity at Marshall University in Huntington.
Large concluded, “There was good offensive movement all game long and outstanding defense from our entire team. In addition, the development all season was showcased tonight. It was not just the upperclassmen, the veterans, but there were times in this game we had three sophomore and a freshman on the floor at the same time. It’s great to see that, it will pay dividends for us as we enter the playoffs and as we look forward to the future. Princeton is a fine team and we got up against Mount View Monday, which we feel is one of the most dangerous opponents in the area. We will have to be at the top of our game -- the Golden Knights will be prepared to play.”
Princeton won the junior varsity game, 60-51.

At Brushfork Armory
Colton Fix 10, Jacob Whittington 13, Aaron McCabe 4, Cole Cochran 7, Bryson Murphy 1, Drew Hopkins 6, Tanner Veneri 4, Cade Fix 1.
Jaray Williams 11, Jeremy Thompson 20, Mookie Collier 24, Devin Goins 2, Dominick Taxley 4, Dyon Wright 8, Nathan Pettus 2.
Princeton......................9 13 12 7 — 41
Bluefield.....................15 17 21 18 — 73
3-point goals -- P 3 (Whittington 2, McCabe 1). B 4 (Collier 2, Thompson 1, Williams 1). Fouled out --none.
Nightly Roundup
Game Scoreboard
Bluefield 15 19 21 18 0 73
Princeton 9 13 12 7 0 41
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