By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Throw out the records. Throw out the favorite and the underdog status. It’s the Princeton Tigers vs. the Bluefield Beavers and when the Tigers and Beavers meet on the hardwood it is a hard-fought, physical game in which the outcome cannot be predicted with any certainty.
The two schools were scheduled to meet Friday night, but Mother Nature had other plans as school in Mercer County was cancelled for the day and the game was put on hold. The teams will tip off this afternoon with the JV game starting at noon and the varsity teams squaring off at 2 p.m.
In the first meeting between the schools on Dec. 28 at the Brushfork Armory, Princeton claimed a 68-61 win. The big men were key for the Tigers as the Beavers had no answer for 6’7 Aaron Ferguson and 6’5 Zen Clements.
Ferguson scored 22 points and Clements came off the bench to score 13. Princeton’s tall two also played a strong role on the defensive end of the court, altering Bluefield shots in the paint and controlling the boards. Ryan Meadows added 19 for Princeton.
Bluefield got 22 points from Michael Yost, 17 from Anthony Eades and Lykel Collier tallied 15.
Following that loss Bluefield won 13 consecutive games before falling to Class AAA Greenbrier East. Since the lost to East the Beavers have won five in a row and enter today’s game with a 19-2 record.
Princeton comes in with a 16-5 mark, their last game a week ago Friday was a loss to Huntington in the MSAC tournament. However, prior to that loss the Tigers had won fine in a row, including an impressive win at Greenbrier East.
Look for Bluefield to start Collier at the point, Eades and Yost on the wings and D.J. Edwards in the low post. Corey Coppola, season-long starter in the other post position for Bluefield, missed Tuesday night’s game against Wyoming East due to an injury received against River View. If Coppola is unable to go, look for either David or Matthew Woodrum to get the start.
In addition to the Woodrums coming off the bench for Bluefield, Coach Buster Large will call on guard Jordan Ponder in what is basically an eight-man rotation for the Beavers.
Princeton will likely go with Meadows at the point. Derek Jennelle is the two guard with Kyle Caron and Hunter Walters at forward positions. Ferguson will hold down the post.
Look for Clements, Lamont Lee and Storm McPherson to be the first off the bench for head coach Ernie Gilliard.
Opening tip for the varsity game is scheduled for 2 p.m.