WILSON — Strong starts each half boosted the Beddingfield High varsity girls basketball team to a 59-32 conquest of Southern Nash in the second girls semifinal of the 42nd girls Farris & Thomas Holiday Tournament in the Beddingfield gym Tuesday night.
The Bruins, winning for the ninth time in 10 games, forged a 11-2 lead after the opening quarter and, up 24-16 at halftime, netted the first eight points of the second half in dealing the Ladybirds, a 3-A member of the 2-A/3-A Big East Conference, their third loss against five wins.
Smooth 5-foot-7 Beddingfield senior Danesha Briggs continued her high-scoring ways with a game-high 28 points. Junior K.J. Hill provided seven points — all in the first half.
“I tried to be more defensive and get my teammates to score more in the second half,” Hill remarked of her performance. “But I helped give us a good start. I started the offense off.”
Behind Hill’s seven points and 13 from Briggs, Beddingfield settled for a 24-16 halftime lead. Southern Nash rallied behind diminutive, 5-foot senior guard Jermia Walker and senior Darielle Whitley.
The Ladybirds shrunk the deficit to 18-14 before Briggs delivered a pair of 3-pointers for the Bruins. Briggs swished a trio of 3s in the quarter.
“We obviously game-planned for (Briggs),” said Southern Nash head coach Jordan Bass, “and she’s certainly a fine player. Our girls were not used to the (3-point shooter) pulling that far out, and getting out to the 3-point line was not far enough.”
After Beddingfield’s third-quarter start that increased the lead to 16 points, the fans were basically entertained by Beddingfield’s Briggs and Southern Nash’s Walker, who, despite her lack of size, would drive inside and either finish a drive or dish to an open teammate.
“No. 14 (Walker) — she’s tough,” said Beddingfield head coach Jody O’Neal. “We not just wanted to contain her, but not let her dribble and drive. She got some points, but the girls did a good job on her.”
“I tried my best,” Walker commented. “But I wasn’t there on defense and I could have coached up my team a little more.”
However, Bass cited pregame adversity and the Bruins’ third-quarter run.
“We were missing a couple of girls (starters),” Bass explained. “I don’t know if that was in the girls’ heads, but they seemed affected. They were not ready to play. And after (Beddingfield made) that third-quarter run, I feel like we gave up. By not having them, the girls were not doing what they are capable of doing.”
Walker was kinder in her thoughts.
“We got some transition points, but we couldn’t convert. We lost momentum. I tried to talk my team up, but when you lose your groove, it’s hard to come back,” she expressed.
SOUTHERN NASH (32)
Whitley 8, Vilaro, T. Richardson, Walker 16, Knight 3, Hinnant, P. Richardson, Green 5, Kennedy, Waddell.
Pender 4, Sutton, Hill 7, Blanchard 4, Harris 3, Ricketts 3, Marshall 6, Moody, Coppedge 4, Briggs 28, Harrison, Jefferson.
Score by quarters:
Southern Nash 2 14 4 12 — 32
Beddingfield 11 13 17 18 — 59