Westside’s high octane offense wasn’t quite enough to topple Bluefield.
The Renegades were in run and gun mode in Tuesday’s battle with the No. 2 Beavers at Clear Fork. But Bluefield held on for an 89-87 win in a game decided in the final seconds.
Guard Donte Hopkins scored 32 points and the Beavers were 8-10 at the line in the final 1:17 as they improved to 9-1.
“We were able to go down to the wire with the No. 1 team,” said WHS coach Shawn Jenkins, who predicted Bluefield will move up to the top spot in AA in light of Fairmont Senior’s loss earlier this week.
“I can lose when my team plays hard,” he said.
Jenkins says he wants his team to continue to push the pace.
“I want us to get the rebound, make the outlet pass (and get down the floor),” he stated. “We are not very good in the half court.”
Bluefield had a small lead for most of the night, but the Renegades (6-5) went up 71-66 on Corey Hatfield’s bucket off a feed from Jacob Ellis.
The Beavers answered with a 14-4 spurt that put them up, 80-75, with less than three minutes to play.
Ellis, who finished the night with 23 points, scored to cut the lead to three.
“He has played a lot better the last two games,” Jenkins said. “I started Hunter Walters for two games, and I think that lit a fire under him.”
An Ellis three from the right corner closed the gap to 83-82 with 1:07 to play.
Hopkins made a free throw and Devon Goins sank two to extend the lead to 86-82.
At 87-84, Westside forced a turnover and had a chance to tie. But the shot was off the mark and Bluefield’s Ryan Davis clinched the win with two foul shots with 5.2 seconds left.
The Renegades left some points at the charity stripe, and Jenkins says it is an area where his team has to improve.
“With the good shooters we’ve got, we have to do better at the foul line,” he said.
In addition to Hopkins, the Beavers got 18 from Davis and 17 from Cody Fuller. Mookie Collier scored 11.
Ellis lead five Renegades in double digits. His 23 was followed by Shane Jenkinbs (18), Isaiah Lester (15), Hatfield (13) and Elijah Puett (10).
Game notes: Bluefield remains unbeaten against Region 3 teams.
See a related photo on Page 7.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.