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Its first win of the season in sight, the Beddingfield High varsity girls basketball team watched a halftime lead slowly detoriate as Smithfield-Selma rallied to force overtime and beat the host Lady Bruins for the third time this season with a 45-43 triumph in the opening round of the Farris & Farris Holiday Tournament, 45-43.
Including Wednesday’s game, the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference Lady Bruins, still winless through nine games, have had the lead in each of their last two games against the 3-A Greater Neuse River Conference Lady Spartans (4-5) in the second half after getting blown out by 18 in Smithfield in their first meeting Dec. 6.
“Had a great opportunity to win a basketball game and just didn’t capitalize at the end,” Beddingfield head coach Debra Pegram said. “I’ve got some incredibly young people playing crucial roles. Going into this season I had literally two people who had seen any varsity experience, and the rest are just young.”
“Even if they’re juniors, they’re still young because they didn’t get to play a lot in game situations last year.”
One of the two experienced players for the Lady Bruins, 6-foot-2 junior Makayla Everette, fouled out of the game with two minutes left in the fourth quarter and the score tied 31-31. Everette exited with a game-high 21 points.
After Everette took a seat on the bench, Jalyn Reddick stepped up to the line and knocked down two free throws to give SSS a 33-31 lead. Beddingfield’s Jasaray Pope responded with a layup to tie it up at 33 and the teams traded two more baskets each to send the game into overtime, 37-37.
The Lady Spartans’ Reddick and Khaliyah Peacock each sank a pair of foul shots in the first minute of the overtime to take a 41-37 lead. But the Lady Bruins’ Trinity Anderson would respond with two free throws to cut the lead to 41-39 with a little over two minutes left. But a layup by Paeton Moody and two free throws by Jahni Santos in the last minute of the game would seal the Lady Spartans’ first victory in the six years SSS has played in the Wilson Christmas tournament, in its 41st year for the girls.
“I’m more proud of my team tonight than any game we played in and won all season long,” Lady Spartans’ head coach Billy Lassiter said. “They showed a lot of heart — could have given up --— a lot of character.”
Zniah Thaggard was the only SSS scorer in double figures as she finished with 14 points.
For the first time since 1997, Beddingfield is hosting the tournament and the Lady Bruins are not in the championship game. It’s just the fifth time in the last 20 years and second straight that Beddingfield is not playing in the girls championship game. SSS is the first visiting girls team to be in the championship game Greene Central lost to Fike 69-43 in 1997. The Lady Spartans are aiming to be the first visiting team to win the girls tournament since C.B. Aycock beat Fike 54-37 in 1995.
Thaggard 14, Reddick 4, Lassiter 2, Peacock 9, McQueen 2, Santos 8, Hawkins, Moody 6, Forte, Tedder
Anderson 2, Worsham 4, Cooper, Pope 1,Sherrod 12, Best 3, Thomas, Everette 21
Score by quarters:
Smithfield-Selma 10 5 11 11 8 — 45
Beddingfield 4 18 6 9 6 — 43