The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 12, 2014

Crusaders one win away

Greater Beckley, Meadow Bridge meet in regional final

By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer

— The road to Charleston continues tonight for a pair of Class A, Region 3 teams when the Greater Beckley Christian Crusaders welcome the Meadow Bridge Wildcats to the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

The Crusaders (18-6) come into tonight’s battle for the Region 3 co-championship as the favorite, but they’re not taking the Wildcats (14-10) lightly.

“We’ve watched a lot of film on them,” Crusaders coach Dan Burd said. “They’ve got Logan Pomeroy, who’s really good and two good post players (Kaleb Farr and Kyle Judy). They’ve got a real good support group. They like to play slower than we do and are a lot more physical.”

Keeping an eye on Pomeroy will be key.

The 5-11 senior is a four-year starter and has been one of the region’s top scorers this season. Pomeroy is averaging 19.8 points per game and has knocked down 42 3-pointers on the year.

“We’re going to do him like we do any other kid,” Burd admitted. “We’re going to close out on him, make sure he doesn’t get enough touches and make sure someone is there to contend on him and make him put the ball on the court.”

The Wildcats come into the game damaged, but not destroyed after a 68-32 defeat to Valley in the sectional round.

“We made the decision to move on,” Meadow Bridge coach Mark Gladwell said. “Valley was the better team that night — considerably better. We have to focus on our next game and represent what Meadow Bridge basketball is all about, which I don’t think we did a very good job of against Valley.”

Gladwell and his squad will have their work cut out for them, playing a hungry Crusaders team, led by senior Javonne Staunton-Bailey, who has tasted victory before, winning the state championship with Oak Hill as a freshman.

“He’s always upbeat,” Burd said. “He knows how big this game is, and he’s telling the guys that and what we need to do to win. He’s got a real spirit of encouragement. He’s an emotional leader.”

Staunton-Bailey, who averages 18.2 points per game, is joined by junior Elisha Kidd, who leads all scoring for the Crusaders at 23 points per game.

“Elisha is a quiet leader,” Burd said. “He lets his play do the leading. He plays hard and the kids really rally around him when he scores.”

Stopping the two-headed attack of Staunton-Bailey and Kidd will be a tough task for the less experienced Wildcats.

“They’re very talented on the perimeter,” Gladwell said. “It will be a challenge for us to match up with that.”

The Crusaders are hoping to continue their winning streak at the Convention Center. GBC has played on Dave Barksdale Court six times in the last two seasons, losing only once — a one point game with Tug Valley.

“Hopefully it will be an advantage for us,” Burd said.

— Steve Keenan

contributed to this story.