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KENLY — In the second half of the Beddingfield girls basketball team’s 44-29 victory over North Johnston on Wednesday night, Daneesha Briggs made her imprint all over the direction of the ballgame.
The Lady Bruins freshman guard, who finished with 16 points and created a fierce tandom with a 20-point performance from senior Makayla Everette, played about as complete a game as she could have on both offense and defense as Beddingfield improved to 9-4 overall and 1-1 in 2-A Eastern Plains Conference play.
Throughout the game, Briggs was a defensive menace, blocking at least three shots, forcing steals on occasion and leaving little room for the Lady Panthers (10-4, 0-2 EPC) to work. But particularly in a crucial second half, her work on the offensive end helped Beddingfield turn the tide for good.
“I was just trying to get us the lead,” Briggs explained. “Get us the lead far enough so we could settle a little bit.”
Briggs had a quiet five points in the first half, while North Johnston’s Arial Pearce and Everette shouldered the scoring burden for their respective teams with 10 points each.
The Lady Panthers started the game on a 13-2 run, but soon after, the Lady Bruins went on their own 13-2 run to tie the game by the middle of the second quarter. The teams entered halftime deadlocked at 19.
Coming out of the break, while North Johnston lingered in the locker room, Briggs got up extra shots and made nearly every one of them.
It soon translated well when the game resumed as Briggs scored nine points in the third quarter to give her team a 32-26 lead entering the fourth, Briggs was almost a little surprised at how well she turned it on in the victory, considering she’s been hampered by injury.
“I did well,” Briggs said. “It was kind of hard because I’m suffering from a heel injury. It was kind of hard, but I was trying.”
The rest of the way, allowing just three points, Beddingfield put it away while the host Panthers were left with the regrets of a game that got out of hand.
“The fourth quarter was the biggie,” head coach Jay Poole said. “It just got kind of out of hand there in the last two minutes. It was a hard-fought game.”
With just seven players tasked with holding down Everette on the inside and Briggs on the outside, the defense eventually broke down when it mattered most for North Johnston.
“I thought we made a few mistakes on Briggs,” Poole said. “She’s really good, a good 3-point shooter. We left her open on an inbounds play, can’t do that and we left her open in the first quarter in that 3-point shot. We shouldn’t have given her any room at all, so you make mistakes like that, good players will make you pay. Those two (Briggs and Everette) carried them tonight, without a doubt.”
Pearce finished with 14 points, while Mackenzie Gibson added nine as the top two scorers of four from North Johnston.
Everette 20, Briggs 16, Dove 2, Pender 2, Sherrod 4.
NORTH JOHNSTON (29)
Pearce 14, Gibson 9, Gross 5, Blue 1.
Score by quarters:
Beddingfield 11 8 13 12 — 44
North Johnston 15 4 7 3 — 29