On Friday evening, Feb. 17, the top high school team in the state came to Fairlea to play the Greenbrier East Spartans. Bluefield, 16-3 coming in, went home with a 56-46 victory, the result of a frantic, relentless pace of play that resulted in defensive steals, and offensive pressure.
They were led by Mookie Collier, who scored 23 points and provided dynamic floor leadership. His quickness, speed, and ball-handling ability were phenomenal.
For East, Seth Brown was high scorer with 14. East shot only 7 of 27 from three-point range, with no one hitting more than one except Corey Beswick, who shot 4 of 8, including a stretch in the first half when he hit three shots in quick succession. It was East’s shooting in the first half that provided them a lead, but that cooled off in the second half, and Bluefield climbed ahead. Bluefield had 18 steals in the game; East had only 4. That was the difference. As coach Jim Justice said afterward, “The difference in the game was their defensive quickness. That was it.”