CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Free throws proved costly for Bluefield, but luckily, for the Beavers, not at the price of the game at the state tournament on Thursday.
Despite shooting 15-of-30 from the line in the second half, top-seeded Bluefield defeated No. 8 seed North Marion 62-51 in the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center. The Beavers will face Robert C. Byrd/Tolsia in the semifinals at 7:15 p.m. today.
Bluefield Coach Charles Large cited several factors that kept the Beavers from creating further separation, but few played as large as free throws.
"No. 1, free throw shooting, which we're going to do very early in the morning," Large said. "We're much better than that.
"We played through a lot of factors and good teams normally do that. I have a lot of confidence in these young men. They always find a way to win, and that's the sign of a good team. We'll work on what we've got to work on in the morning, and try to do a little bit better job (tonight), and hopefully, we'll eliminate some of those factors."
While free throws plagued the Beavers (23-3), Bluefield guard Lykell Collier shined as North Marion (16-9) focused its defensive pressure on junior Anthony Eades.
"Basically, I knew coming into (the game), they were probably looking to double-team Eades, because he's a good shooter," Collier said, "so I just had to create shots for myself and create shots for my teammates and just penetrate, find the open gaps."
Collier posted game-highs in points (17), assists (nine) and steals (five), while Eades fought the pressure to finish with a hard-earned 15 points.
North Marion Coach Chris Freeman acknowledged the game plan: the Huskies identified Eades as the player to stop.