PRINCETON — The Bluefield Beavers captured the Trophies and More Holiday Classic by defeating Princeton in the championship game, 66-40, at Princeton on Dec. 21. PikeView beat Graham 61-53 in the consolation contest.
Princeton had high hopes of upsetting Bluefield and capturing the holiday championship. Tigers’ wins in their first two games of the year — after collecting only two victories in each of the previous two seasons — fueled these expectations.
When Nick Branson and Ryan Meadows both hit field goals and foul shots to propel the Tigers to an early 6-0 lead, Tiger fans’ emotions were running high. The quick start seemed to validate their expectations. The euphoria did not last long, though. Bluefield tied the score at 8-8, and by the end of the first quarter held a 15-13 margin. By halftime, the Beavers were in control of the game with a 36-22 lead. After three quarters, Bluefield’s advantage mushroomed to a 53-26 lead.
Bluefield shot a blistering 54 percent from the field while the Tigers were cold hitting less than 30 percent. In the their previous game against Graham, the Tigers converted almost half of their shots. Bluefield’s active pressure defense frequently seemed to bother the Tiger shooters.
The Beavers controlled the backboards, 30 to 23. No Princeton player collected more than five rebounds.
Bluefield’s sensational freshman guard Lykel Collier paced the attack with 22 points. Many of his goals came as a result of acrobatic driving layups. He also converted four long-range goals. Senior Kyle Harris provided excellent support with 16 markers. The Beavers connected on five three-pointers.
Princeton’s Nick Branson bucketed 12 points, including a goal beyond the arc. Adam Mills drilled two three-pointers and tallied 10 points. Ryan Meadows added seven points while Kyle Caron connected on a three and scored five points. David Brewster bulled his way for four points while Jordan Harris added two points. Brewster’s aggressive play added some spark to the Tigers’ play.
With a cold shooting performance, the Tigers’ were unable to match the Beavers’ quickness and athleticism. Princeton gave it a good try.
In the consolation game, sharpshooter Tommy Symns bucketed 23 points to spearhead Pikeview’s win over Graham. William Webster chipped in with 12 points for the Panthers. Graham’s offense was led by Euneke Diaz who displayed an assortment of dazzling drives to the hoop. Jordan Bryan added 10 points for the G-Men.
The Princeton Tigers held off a furious fourth quarter Graham rally to emerge victorious in the first round of the Trophies and More Holiday Classic at Princeton on Dec. 18.
The amazing Tigers moved to 2-0 for the season equaling their win total for both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons.
Graham led 10-9 after the first quarter. Early in the second period they expanded their advantage to 13-9. At this point, Princeton got hot and closed the half with a 12-4 run to lead after two quarters, 21-17.
The Tigers exploded in the third quarter hitting on 11 of 17 field goal attempts and six of eight foul line tosses to produce 28 points. They held Graham to 15 points during the period to zoom to a 49-32 lead after three periods. Eight different Tigers produced points during their offensive onslaught of the third quarter.
Early in the final quarter Princeton expanded their margin to 20 points at 54-34. The G-Men’s Jordan Bryan then pumped in 15 of his game-high 19 points to help propel Graham within six points (61-55). In the final minutes, clutch foul shooting by sophomore point guard Ryan Meadows and solid work offensively and defensively in the paint by Tre’ Hopkins and O. B. Pannell preserved the Tigers’ victory.
Both teams shot well. Princeton converted 49 percent of their field goal attempts while Graham connected on 47 percent. Princeton held slight advantages in rebounding and in the number of turnovers.
Princeton displayed outstanding depth. Twelve Tigers played and twelve Tigers scored. Ryan Meadows was the only Princeton player in double figures. He hit 12 of 14 foul stripe attempts and totaled 16 points. Jordan Harris, O. B. Pannell, and Tre’ Hopkins each tallied eight points. Other Princeton scorers were Darnell Palmer (7 points), Adam Mills (6 points), Robert Redd (5 points), Brandon Fulp (3 points), Kyle Caron (3 points), Shane Musick (3 points), Nick Branson (3 points) and David Brewster (2 points).
Aaron Davidson bucketed 11 points for the G-Men.
In the other tournament contest, Bluefield drilled Pikeview, 63-44. Lykel Collier with 20 points and Kyle Harris with 19 points sparked the Beavers’ attack. Pikeview’s Tommy Symns tallied 21 points including four long-range bombs and a dunk to lead the Panthers.