By J. Daniel Rollins
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Of the top five Class AA teams in the state, three are in Region 3. Of those three, only one is promised a trip to Charleston.
No. 1 Bluefield, No. 4 Westside and No. 5 Wyoming East, along with underdog PikeView, will all be in action tonight with a trip to Charleston and the state tournament on the line.
Perhaps no team has a tougher road to the championship than the No. 1 team in the state.
The Bluefield Beavers and Wyoming East Warriors will engage in their third battle of the season at 7 p.m. inside the Beaver-friendly confines of the Brushfork Armory in Bluewell.
The previous times the two squads met, Bluefield walked away victorious. Unlike their first meeting, a 75-56 beatdown in New Richmond, the Warriors took it to the Beavers the entire night. Bluefield only won on a D.J. Edwards basket with 5.4 seconds remaining in the game.
For the Warriors to be victorious, they’ll need to stop the hot backcourt duo of Anthony Eades and Lykel Collier. Eades and Collier combined for 49 points when the two squads met on Jan. 11. However, Collier was almost non-existant in their Feb. 19 victory, being held to only five points.
While Wyoming East may not be receiving the accolades it had been earlier in the season, it would be foolish to look past the No. 5 team in the state.
The Warriors’ eight losses have come from some very stiff competition. They’ve lost to Class AAA No. 2 Woodrow Wilson twice, Class AA No. 1 Bluefield twice, No. 3 Robert C. Byrd once and three times to No. 4 Westside.
n n n
While Bluefield and Wyoming East will be sure to be a battle for the ages, Westside’s trip to the capital city may be only slightly more than a walk in the park. They’ll host PikeView tonight in Clear Fork. It will be the first meeting this season between the two schools.
The Renegades — and their “Renegade Rowdies” faithful — are among the hottest teams in the state. The No. 4 team in Class AA has rattled off nine straight victories — including three over county rival Wyoming East — since falling to No. 1 Bluefield 67-56 in the opening round of January’s Big Atlantic Classic.
Part of that hot streak can be credited to the hot play of Corey Bowles. The junior guard has averaged 22 points in his last four games.
However, much of Clear Fork will be praying that Bowles’ injured ankle will be better for a run at states, which was injured in the first quarter of the Wyoming East game last week. After the game, he said it was “terrible,” but has been rehabbing it through the week.
Westside’s Levi Lambert, Justin Cogar and sixth man Will Fox should be able to spark the Renegade offense should Bowles be unable to go.
PikeView’s 6-16 record may not be indicitve of the talent the team has. The Panthers have 9 players on their roster over 6-foot tall, including 6-foot-5 senior Zach Meadows. The height could create a matchup problem for the smaller, guard driven Renegade team.
Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.
E-mail: email@example.com and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.
For team coverage check us out online at www.register-herald.com and look for the "In The Paint" link.