NEW RICHMOND —
Some rivalries are born out of blood. Other rivalries are born out of geography. The budding rivalry between Bluefield and Wyoming East? It’s born out of pure competition.
Wyoming East had won seven of the last nine matchups between the schools going into Friday night’s contest between the Class AA No. 5 Warriors and No. 2 Beavers, but the last two belonged to Bluefield — a 73-53 win at Bluefield last January and a one-point thriller, 90-89, in New Richmond a month later.
On Friday night, Bluefield continued its winning tradition with a 75-56 win over the Warriors.
“It’s really turning into a rivalry between the two schools,” Bluefield coach Buster Large said. “I fully expect we see them two or three more times before this season is over.”
Bluefield jumped out to a commanding 12-0 lead early in the first quarter that was started by junior point guard Lykel Collier’s 3-point shot just seconds into the game.
“In warm-ups I was feeling pretty good,” he said. “These rims are easy to shoot on. He (Wyoming East guard Austin Canada) backed up a little bit and gave me room to get the shot off. I was just playing my game.”
Wyoming East managed to cut back into the 29-12 lead Bluefield had built. The Warriors outscored Bluefield 17-13 in the second quarter. However, it wouldn’t be enough as Bluefield controled the tempo and made it impossible for the Warriors to get back in the game in the third and fourth quarters.
“I don’t think we gave up,” East coach Rory Chapman said. “I thought we hung in there, but they came back. Too much Collier and Eades tonight.”
The junior duo of Collier and Anthony Eades led the Beavers in scoring. Eades had 26 and Collier had 23.
“I like these rims,” Eades said with a smile. “I shot well here last year, too. Lykel did a great job giving me the ball. All credit goes to him.”
“It’s a huge victory against a top 5 opponent,” Collier said. “Any time you can come down here and get a victory, it’s a big win. But credit them, they played a good game defensively. We just jumped out to a big lead.”
One of the bright spots for the Warriors was the play of Canada, a senior guard who finished the night with 17 points. In his first year at the point guard position, Canada had the unenviable task of keeping Collier in check all night.
“It was a good matchup,” Collier said of Canada. “He can shoot good. He can defend good. He did a good job on me all night, I was just hitting some tough shots.”
Late in the game, Canada’s aggressive defense made it tough for Collier to get off the shots he had been hitting earlier.
“We’ve got to do that from the start of the game to the end of the game,” Chapman said. “We’ve got to step up to the challenge that they present and play better basketball.”
It’s not the first time the Warriors have been the victim of an early onslaught from their opponent. Just one week earlier, Wyoming East trailed Westside 23-15 at the end of the first quarter.
“Two of the last three games we’ve been down early,” Chapman said. “We were able to come back against Westside, but Bluefield is really good offensively and hard to stop. Bluefield came in, they executed everything they wanted from the time the ball tipped off until the final buzzer. They just put it to us, no excuses, and outplayed us.”
The Warriors will face another tough challenge in their next game Wednesday when they travel to fellow AA power Scott, which will be looking to redeem itself after a tough last-second loss to Poca, 40-39 Friday.
“Scott’s a great team. We’re going to have to go over there and win,” Chapman said. “I’ll tell my kids, it’s not where you start, or where you’re at after nine games, it’s where you’re at at the end of the season.”
— E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @JDanielRollins
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Dakoda Smalls 0 1-3 1, Brandon Lilly 0 0-1 0, David Edwards 0 1-2 1, Anthony Eades 10 5-6 26, Lykel Collier 8 3-6 23, Trevor Mullins 0 0-0 0, Michael Yost 2 0-0 4, Jordan Ponder 0 2-2 2, David Woodrum 1 0-0 2, Corey Coppola 6 0-0 12, Matthew Woodrum 2 0-0 4, Aaron Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 12-20 75.
Wyoming East (7-2)
Austin Canada 6 3-4 17, Kyle Sandy 1 0-0 2, Cody Lester 1 2-2 4, John Morgan 0 0-0 0, Josh Tunstalle 2 6-6 10, Joseph Cornett 0 2-2 2, Christian Hedinger 3 4-4 10, Brett Bowling 3 1-2 7, Tyler Lester 2 0-0 4. Totals: 18 18-20 56.
B 29 13 17 16 — 75
WE 12 17 11 16 — 56
3-point goals — B: 5 (Eades, Collier 4); WE: 2 (Canada 2). Fouled out — B: D. Woodrum. WE: Tunstalle, T. Lester.