BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVDN) – The 5th ranked Greenbrier East Spartans traveled to the Brush Fork Armory in Bluefield on Tuesday night, Jan. 24, for a top five showdown with the 2nd ranked (Class AA) Bluefield Beavers.
After a back-and-forth battle from start to finish, the Spartans ran out of gas in overtime and lost 82-73.
The Spartans had a rough start to the game, especially with Bluefield big man R.J. Hairston as he got layup after layup on the inside. After a Will Looney score and a Sincere Fields 3-pointer, the Beavers had jumped out to a 13-4 lead.
A couple minutes later, the Spartans (7-4) switched to a zone defense that seemed to really slow the Beavers down. On offense, East got a 3 from Goose Gabbert, a Monquelle Davis 3 and a reverse layup by Gabbert as well, and at the end of the first quarter, the Spartans trailed 17-14.
Two Gabbert baskets sandwiched by a Cam’ron Gore score had the Spartans down only 1, as both teams continued to battle and play well off of each other. A nice pass from Adam Seams to Davis resulted in 2 points for the Spartans, and Chris Sinclair’s bucket right before halftime had the Spartans ahead 26-24 at the break.
The Beavers (8-3) appeared to have made some adjustments in the locker room, as they started throwing over top of the zone as Hairston got an east layin, and Gore scored on a fast break. But then the Spartans went on a mini 7-0 run to take a 5-point lead, 33-28, with about six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After a Looney 3, East’s Bryson Brammer nailed one from distance and got fouled, which he converted, and it was after that play that the Spartans momentum kept them in the contest. Both teams answered each other the remainder of the period, as East led 45-43 at the end of three.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Bluefield extended their lead to 61-54 after a Hairston dunk, but the Spartans kept fighting. Gabbert scored, then he got an old-fashioned 3-point play, and then he found Seams for an open 3, which he hit. That made it 67-64, Beavers.
With the Spartans down by 2 with five seconds to go, Gabbert got loose for an uncontested layup and tied the game at 70 apiece after Caleb Fuller’s half-court heave bounced off the rim.
Unfortunately, in the extra session, the Spartans just could not muster up enough points to get the win. They scored only 3 points in the extra session, and the Beavers lived at the free-throw line and went 5-of-6 to secure the victory.
Gabbert was the game-high scorer with 28 points. Sinclair added 10.
Hairston and Looney netted 19 for the Beavers. Fuller added 16, and Fields got 15.
East returns home on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 4 p.m. to take on the South Charleston Black Eagles. It is part of a Spartan boys and girls doubleheader.