Final step remains
Tolsia (47) Vs. Bluefield (63)
Mar 16, 2012
By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
CHARLESTON — The magic number is one for the Bluefield Beavers in their quest for a West Virginia Class AA state basketball championship.
The Beavers got 20 points apiece from Lykel Collier and Anthony Eades and shot down the Tolsia Rebels 63-47 in semifinal action, Friday afternoon at the Charleston Civic Center.
Tolsia took the early lead and was up 8-4 midway through the first period. Eades’ NBA-range three from the top of the key pulled Bluefield to within one and later Michael Yost drilled a trey to keep the Beavers close.
Bluefield knotted the game at 12 with 1:28 showing on the first quarter clock when Collier snagged a rebound and drove coast-to-coast for the bucket. Another three by Yost from just across midcourt at the first quarter buzzer gave Bluefield its first lead of the game, 15-12.
“I looked at the clock and we had two seconds to go and I just shot it, let it fly, and it went in,” Yost said.
Eades got the hot hand to open the second period, connecting from long-distance on another top-of-the key three to give the Beavers a six point lead. However, Jacob Copley, who came into the game averaging 21 points a contest, sank a long one from behind the arc to bring the Rebels back to within one.
The Beavers then took command of the contest, opening a 10-point lead thanks to another Eades three, two Collier free throws and an Eades baseline jumper at which time Tolsia coach Jacob Hatfield called time.
Following the timeout the Rebels got back to within six of the lead, but with 1.5 left in the half Eades’ baseline floater gave Bluefield a 39-31 halftime advantage.
Both teams slowed the pace in the third period.
“Coming in we wanted to limit their possessions,” said Hatfield, whose Rebels advanced with a triple-overtime win over Magnolia on Wednesday. “So the slow tempo, I thought, would work in our favor. We made some big shots against Magnolia, but today our shots just didn’t go down and you learn to live with it.”
“We got into some foul trouble there, two of our best rebounders on the bench, Michael Yost and K.J. Manns,” said Bluefield head coach Buster Large. “I knew they would try to make a run because they are an extremely good shooting ball club and we were able to take the wind out of them.”
Bluefield’s defense rose to the fore and held Tolsia to only three points in the quarter and carried a 48-34 advantage into the final eight minutes of action.
“I thought one of the big keys was how we were able to make adjustments at halftime,” Large said. “Our coaching staff did an outstanding job in adjusting and it paid off in the second half.”
The Beavers’ lead continued to grow and was at 21 points when K.J. Manns sank two free throws with 3:35 left in the contest. Mann’s stuff with 1:45 to go was the exclamation point on the Bluefield victory.
In addition to Collier and Eades each scoring 20 points, Manns and Yost each had eight points.
Yost and D.J. Edwards each pulled down six rebounds, while Manns, Collier and Harley Trimble each snagged four boards. Collier had four steals and four assists.
For the game Bluefield shot 50 percent from the floor and 63 percent from behind the three point line.
“It was a great team effort,” Large said. “I think it was a combination of a lot of different kids, a total team effort and we’re glad to be playing tomorrow.”
The Beaver defense held Tolsia to 22 percent shooting in the second half. Copley led the Rebels with 18 points, while 6-7 Austin Brewer had 12 points and 14 rebounds.
“Bluefield is a good basketball team,” Hatfield said. “They’ve got a great coach, a great staff. I’m not going to sit here and say we played the best basketball that we have all season. No, we didn’t play the best basketball we had this season and there is a reason for that and they are in the other locker room celebrating.”
Bluefield, now 26-1 and top seed in the Class AA tournament, will play Tug Valley, 25-2, the No. 2 seed in the field.
Tug Valley advanced to the championship game thanks to a 68-60 win over Wyoming East earlier in the day.
at Charleston Civic Center
Copley 7-15 2-3 19, Brewer 5-9 2-4 12, Clark 1-4 2-4 4, Davis 1-6 0-0 3, Stacy 2-10 4-4 9, Stroud 0-0 0-0 0, Williamson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-45 10-15 47.
Manns 3-6 2-2 8, Eades 8-18 0-0 20, Collier 7-12 5-6 20, Trimble 0-2 0-2 0, Yost 3-5 0-1 8, Ponder 0-0 0-0 0, Amaker 1-1 0-0 2, Woodrum 0-0 0-0 0, Edwards 1-2 3-4 5. Totals 23-46 10-15 63.
Tolsia...................................12 19 3 13 — 47
Bluefield..............................15 24 9 15 — 63
3-Point Goals—Tolsia 5-13 (Copley 3-6, Stacy 1-3, Davis 1-4), Bluefield 7-11 (Eades 4-5, Yost 2-3, Collier 1-3). Fouled out—Brewer. Rebounds—Tolsia 28 (Brewer 14), Bluefield 29 (Edwards, Yost 6). Assists—Tolsia 7 (Clark 2), Bluefield 8 (Collier 4). Total Fouls—Tolsia 15, Bluefield 15. A—8,926 (early session).