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For a 14-point loss, Beddingfield High varsity girls basketball coach Debra Pegram emerged from Tuesday night’s 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tilt with Farmville Central with the glass-half-full perspective.
Senior 6-foot-4 center Makayla Everette poured in a career-high 34 points to go along with 11 rebounds, and periodic lulls on the offensive end foiled an otherwise credible Lady Bruins showing in a 69-55 loss to a Lady Jaguars edition that reached the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A title game a season ago.
Untimely turnovers and offensive rebounds went against Beddingfield (12-5, 3-2 EPC) late in the first half, while a key seven-point swing in the third quarter allowed the Lady Jaguars (13-3, 5-0), ranked No. 1 among NCHSAA 2-A teams by Maxpreps.com, some room to keep Beddingfield from applying even more game pressure.
“I’m very proud of my girls,” veteran Beddingfield head coach Debra Pegram said. “We fought, and we had stretched where we cut it to 10 maybe, even lower than that. And then we would have a turnover or a missed assignment, and they would knock down a 3.
“They are an incredible basketball team. They can get you with size, they can get you with transition, they can get you with outside shooting. They can come at you with all cylinders. But I am so proud of my girls. We have improved leaps and bounds this year, and I just think we did some great things tonight. Hopefully, it’s preparing us for play even after the conference tournament. That’s our goal.”
Farmville Central, missing the services of junior Jordan Joyner due to a leg injury, forced 12 first-half turnovers from the Lady Bruins and led 20-10 after the first quarter. But Everette, along with freshman Daneesha Briggs, helped keep Beddingfield within striking distance in the first half. As Farmville Central’s Ja’shyrah Carmon led the way with 27 points for the Lady Jaguars, Everette’s 3-point play brought Beddingfield to within 20-16, and a 3-pointer by Briggs allowed the Lady Bruins to get within two possessions at 27-21. But Carmon laid it in off a turnover, and the second of four 3-pointers by Rashya Speight sent Beddingfield into halftime trailing 32-21.
A chance to pull closer awaited Beddingfield early in the third quarter. Trailing 35-27, the Lady Bruins picked up the fourth foul on 6-3 Farmville Central center Amiya Joyner, which was ruled to be of the intentional variety. Yet Beddingfield missed both free throws, couldn’t convert inside on the ensuing possession and gave up a 3-pointer to the Lady Jaguars’ Kalyn Baker. The resulting seven-point swing put the Lady Bruins down by double digits again.
“That was an opportunity that we didn’t take advantage of,” Pegram lamented. “But hey, things like that happen. I’m just proud that my girls fought, and you can be very intimidated by Farmville. They are a monster of a team.”
Everette’s layup in the final minute of the third quarter brought the Lady Bruins within seven points once more at 44-37, only to see Speight knock down consecutive 3-pointers to make it 50-37 entering the fourth.
Everette had 22 of her total in the second half, finishing inside and displaying a soft touch away from the basket. Her ability as a passer allowed guards to finish on the fast break.
“We just knew coming out, they were a difficult team,” Everette said of the Lady Jaguars. “We knew we could stick with them; we just all had to play together.”
Beddingfield closed to within eight in the fourth quarter, but a lack of team fouls exasperated the time before Farmville Central could be put in the bonus. The Lady Bruins showed little urgency to extend defensive pressure inside of two minutes remaining.
“We haven’t matched anyone with Farmville’s size or athletic ability,” Pegram said. “We tried to simulate it in practice by grabbing any guy we could. Poor Coach (Jody) O’Neal practiced, and he was dripping with sweat when he left out of here yesterday. It’s hard to simulate their size and athleticism, and the only way to do it is to grab you some guys that you see walking around and say ‘Hey, come trap us.’ And that’s what we did!”
Defensively, Everette added three steals and a trio of assists. Briggs, who had eight points, filled the stat sheet with seven rebounds, five steals and five assists.
Beddingfield remains home to face North Johnston on Friday.
FARMVILLE CENTRAL (69)
Baker 15, Willoughby 4, Joyner 9, Speight 12, Pitt 2, Carmon 27.
Anderson 2, Sutton, Pender 3, Dove, Sherrod 6, Briggs 8, Best 2, Thompson, Everette 34, Shade.
Score by quarters:
Farmville Cent. 20 12 18 19 — 69
Beddingfield 10 11 16 18 — 55