Most high school hoops fans considered Bluefield the pre-season favorite to win the AA championship this year.
The Beavers certainly looked the part on Friday night. All-state guard combo Lykel Collier and Anthony Eades lit it up for 49 points, and No. 2 Bluefield shredded No. 5 Wyoming East, 75-56, at New Richmond.
It was East’s most lopsided home loss ever to a AA team.
“They came in and made big shots, and we didn’t do a very good job against them defensively,” said WEHS coach Rory Chapman.
The Beavers (6-1) ended the suspense early and took the air out of a big crowd.
A couple of threes from Collier and two buckets from Eades, sparked a 12-0 start for the visitors.
The Warriors struggled to get over the half court line against the Bluefield press. East had five turnovers before it took a shot.
“We knew they were going to press and we practiced for it,” Chapman stated.
Brett Bowling broke the ice with a bucket inside at the 4:51 mark, and he added a follow shot to make it 12-4.
Josh Tunstalle’s lay up to cut the deficit to 15-6 was the last time the Warriors were within single digits.
By the time Eades hit a 10-footer as the first quarter ended, the margin had swelled to 29-12.
East played on more even terms with the Beavers in the second stanza, but it could never cut much into the lead.
Austin Canada’s drive to the basket at the end of the half left Bluefield with a 42-29 halftime margin.
The Beavers went back to the press to start the third quarter, forced several turnovers and scored seven quick points to go up by 20. WEHS didn’t threaten after that.
Chapman said his club didn’t execute on either end of the floor.
“On defense we never seemed to have all five guys playing together,” he remarked. “We would have three or four and then one going astray.
“It wasn’t at any one position,” he continued. “It was different people at different times.”
Things didn’t run smoothly on the offensive side either.
“We never reversed the ball,” he commented. “All night we were playing on one half of the court.”
Eades, who had 21 in the first half, finished the contest with 26. Collier scored 23. Corey Coppola had 12.
Canada tallied 17 for the Warriors. Tunstalle and Christian Hedinger scored 10 each.
East (7-2) heads to Scott (8-2) this Wednesday and will be at home against Oak Hill on Friday.
“Our goal is still the same, to be playing our best basketball at the end of the season,” Chapman said. “We have to get ready to play a really good Scott team.”
Photo: John Morgan (left) of Wyoming East works against a Bluefield defender in Friday night’s game.