Beavers run past G-GirlsBy BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD — Winning ugly is better than not winning at all.
Aprylle Buford and Aiesha DeWitt scored 13 points apiece, and Bluefield survived a sloppy performance to defeat cross-town rival Graham 61-41 in the Kiwanis Classic on Thursday night at Bluefield State’s Ned Shott Gymnasium.
Buford walked out of the Bluefield locker room with tears in her eyes, but couldn’t complain much about a win over the G-Girls.
“They’re big competition, we’ve been hearing about it a lot lately so we had to come out and play hard,”
Turnovers and foul splagued this game. Both teams turned the ball over more than 30 times apiece, and combined for more than 40 fouls. Bluefield used a 14-0 run to build a 19-7 lead early in the second quarter. The Beavers hit just 10-of-24 free throws in the game, and missed eight straight in the second quarter or the lead would have bigger than 34-20 at the break.
Graham took an early 7-5 lead, keyed by a 3-ball from Bethany Sawyers, but the Beavers (6-1) used pressure defense, transition offense and rebounding to build a comfortable margin. A short jumper by Kayla Roberts gave Bluefield a 24-13 lead with 3:28 left in the half, and the Beavers never led by less than 11 the rest of the game.
“We won ugly, I guess you would say, we just played terrible,” Bluefield head coach Tony Mallamaci said. “Graham is 3a scrappy team, they fight, they out-fought us on loose balls, they actually out-hustled us.
“We just had more depth and a little bit more speed and we were able to get downcourt on transition and that was probably the difference right there. We might have wore them down a little bit.”
Buford scored eight points to start the third quarter for the Beavers, connecting on a three-point shot, a two-pointer and a free throw, and another layup off a nice dish from Stephanie Wallace.
“We played good defense and everybody ran the plays right and once we started playing, we did good,” Buford said. “I played good, I decided to shoot, I don’t shoot that much, but my team was telling to take a shot and they went in tonight.”
Graham, which was playing with just eight girls, including a gimpy Amber Carbaugh, kept it within 13 behind the play of Kathleen Bourne. She led Graham with 16 points, while Whitney Bennett added nine.
“We had a lot of turnovers, they got us a few times running the court, but not as much as I think they thought they would have,” Graham head coach Susan Hill said. “I’ve only got eight people and they’ve got 15 people so they have a lot fresher legs than we have too. This is our third game this week.”
Kathleen Bailey added 11 points for Bluefield, Wallace tossed in nine, and former G-Girl Tierra Carper tallied eight. Despite the win and an early 5-1 record, Mallamaci said the Beavers have work to do.
“We never did run our halfcourt offense right,” Mallamaci said. “Well, we may have run it right one time the whole night. We’ve got a lot work to do.”
Graham will play in a tournament at Giles next week, while the Beavers won’t play again until Jan. 4 against the G-Girls.
“When we come back from Christmas break, we play Graham again,” DeWitt said, “and hopefully then we’ll get a better win.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
Bennett 2 4-4 9, Bourne 6 4-9 16, Sawyers 1 0-0 3, Jones 0 3-6 3, Mercke 0 1-3 1, Wolkoff 1 0-0 2, Reed 1 1-4 3, Carbaugh 1 2-5 4. Totals 12 15-31 41.
Buford 5 2-2 13, DeWitt 4 4-6 13, Wallace 3 1-8 9, Bailey 5 0-0 11, Kr.Roberts 2 0-0 4, Ka.Roberts 1 1-3 3, Carper 3 2-4 8, Ramsey 0 0-0 0, Steptoe 0 0-0 0, Sexton 0 0-1 0, McMillian 0 0-0 0, Godfrey 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 10-24 61.
Graham..................7 13 20 10 — 41
Bluefield................17 17 15 12 — 61
3-point goals: GR 2 (Bennett 1, Sawyers 1); BF 5 (Wallace 2, Buford 1, DeWitt 1, Bailey 1). Total fouls: GR 21; BF 24. Fouled out: Sawyers.