Both teams appear to be miles ahead of where they were back in December. The Flying Eagles have broken away from a 4-4 start and haven't lost since. The Redskins' only setback over the last seven weeks was a one-point loss to George Washington in the Mountain State Athletic Conference consolation game.
"We're playing overall team basketball on both sides of the ball,'' Kidd said. "We're playing good offense and good defense, good help defense. We're doing things a little better. We grew up as the season went along.''
Sutherland noticed that, during its first eight games, Woodrow Wilson was twice held to 44 points (losses to South Charleston and Winfield) and three other times never made it out of the 50s.
Since then, however, the Eagles have scored at least 63 points in every game and have been held below 70 just once in their last 12 (a 63-31 win versus Morgantown).
"I think Beckley has just played to their strengths,'' Sutherland said. "They're very athletic and can push the ball. When they were losing games 48-45, that's not a typical Beckley team, less than 50 points. You look now and they're getting at least 70 or 80 points. That's a typical Beckley team.''
Sutherland said his team has progressed to where it can thrive even if it doesn't get its own transition and 3-point game going.
"For us, the defense has picked up a little bit,'' he said. "Last year, we couldn't have won a game in the 40s. That wasn't our style of play. But we've adjusted to be able to do that.
"We figured that this game will be up and down the floor. However, whose defense does a little better will probably be the one to win the game.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.