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After nine tests against 3-A opposition, the Beddingfield High varsity boys basketball team could understandably embrace the opportunity to oppose a team from North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A — of which it is a member.
But the visiting Greene Central squad that dealt the Bruins a 77-57 loss in the Beddingfield High gym on Wednesday night was no blip on the schedule.
Consider the Rams of first-year head coach Theodore “Blue” Edwards among the state’s 2-A elite. They won for the 10th time in 15 games, lead the Eastern Carolina Conference at 4-0 and are loaded with performers from the 2017-18 team that finished the state 2-A runner-up.
“They are an excellent team,” expressed Beddingfield head coach Joe Dvozenja. “Their record does not reflect how good they are. They are one of the best 2-A teams in the state, certainly in the East. And we knew that coming in.”
Beddingfield (3-7) of the Eastern Plains Conference, in its 2019 debut, played tough for the opening 12 minutes before the Rams pulled away behind guards B.J. Corbitt, a junior, and Hysaan Hudson, a senior.
Greene Central’s first four baskets came on 3-pointers from Hudson and Corbitt and it owned a 38-24 halftime lead despite the fact heralded 6-foot-7 senior Imajae Dodd, who has committed to UNCW, had only two points.
Dodd finished with three dunks among 11 points. Corbitt drilled in a game-high and career-high 20 points, while Hudson bucketed 16. Donte Johnson, a 6-5 senior, added 11 points.
The Rams knocked down nine 3-pointers and committed only six turnovers in a well-played, low-fouling game.
Edwards, the former Greene Central and East Carolina sensation who played 12 seasons in the NBA, noted his team gets excellent perimeter shots because of the inside presence of Dodd, an extremely unselfish and willing passer.
“Having him is a good option,” Corbitt said. “He gives us confidence in our games. In the end, everything goes through him and, if something goes wrong, we can always give the ball to Imajae.”
Beddingfield’s only lead came at 2-0 on sophomore Lamont Speight’s opening reverse move inside. The 3-pointers shot the Rams to a 12-5 lead before Beddingfield rallied behind the long-distance bombing of Andrew Gattis. Dodd managed one shot and the Rams clung to a 14-12 lead after one quarter.
The Bruins trailed 17-16 when their hopes began deteriorating. Johnson stepped up for the Rams, who seized a 38-24 halftime lead on Corbitt’s steal.
Beddingfield’s Gattis swished five of his six 3-pointers in the first half and wound up with 18 points.
“I started out good but I missed too many,” Gattis commented of his outside shooting. “I needed to get the ball a little bit more.
“Then, they started knocking down shots and we weren’t contesting. They were better than the 3-A teams we’ve played.”
Greene Central’s lead first reached 20 points at 47-27 on Johnson’s bucket and expanded to 54-30 on Hudson’s 3-pointer.
The Bruins, sparked by 6-5 junior Avery Huggins, cut the deficit to 60-43 early in the fourth quarter and forced a Rams time-out. With the count 62-45 and 5 minutes, 12 seconds remaining, Edwards returned his starters into the fray.
“I was looking for the reserves to continue to play at a high level,” Edwards explained. “I warned then and told them I was giving them two more possessions.”
The reserves took a seat after the two possessions.
For Beddingfield, Gattis was complemented by Huggins with 15 points and Speight with 11.
“We should be encouraged we kept with them,” Gattis contended.
The Rams capitalized on their length to dominate the rebounding and notch numerous steals. The low turnover count especially pleased Edwards.
“We normally have 22-23 a game,” Edwards said. “I think I have finally got through to my guys about taking care of the basketball. I have been cautioning them to let the game come to them and still be aggressive. Tonight, we did not try to do too much.
“I do worry that we don’t get the ball into (Dodd) enough. Every night out is going to play through him. But our guard play has been solid the last 4-5 games.”
Added Corbitt: “We could have played a little better. Our offense came through our defense. As a whole, we did pretty good.”
GREENE CENTRAL (77)
Corbitt 20, Hudson 16,Suggs 1, Taylor 5, Gay 5, Evans 2, Smith 3, Dodd 11, Pridgen 1, Johnson 11, Parks 2.
Huggins 15, Brantley 6, Best 2, Roesch, Speight 11, Williams, Best, Gattis 18, Taylor 2, Grant 3.
Score by quarters:
Greene Central 14 24 22 17 — 77
Beddingfield 12 12 12 21 — 57