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KENLY — Melody Brown found herself nervous before the start of Tuesday’s 2-A Eastern Plains Conference varsity girls basketball game with Beddingfield inside the North Johnston High gym.
With head coach Jay Poole sidelined due to illness, it was up to Brown to direct the Lady Panthers and their unblemished record into the first game — or day, for that matter — that area teams could return to the floor after a tenacious spell of winter weather.
No problem at all.
Senior Tayanna Jones, a Georgetown University signee, crafted a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, and North Johnston seized control of the game with a 14-0 first-quarter run in coasting to a 52-34 win over the Lady Bruins.
North Johnston, ranked No. 2 among 2-A teams in the latest NCpreps.com poll but 31st in the MaxPreps.com computerized 2-A rankings, won for the 13th time in as many games and moved to 2-0 in EPC play. Beddingfield dropped to 6-5 and remained winless after two conference games.
It was the fifth straight win for the Lady Panthers over Beddingfield.
“The thing that I was most impressed with was we really did a much better job on the boards than we have in previous games,” Brown said. “I thought we did a good job with their big girl (6-foot-2 sophomore Makayla Everette) trying to stay in front and making the adjustments to the fact that they had a 6-2 post player. So we really tried to make some adjustments to her and keep the ball out of her hands.”
Beddingfield led just once at 4-3 on sophomore Aniyah Sherrod’s jumper. However, it was short lived as the lengthy Jones knocked down a jumper, made two free throws and drove the lane for the start of a three-point play. But instead of making the free throw, she missed it, grabbed her own rebound and stuck it back in. It was an eight-point spree by Jones to fuel the run, and North Johnston led 17-9 after one quarter.
“I just feel like we dug ourselves a hole in the first half,” veteran Beddingfield head coach Debra Pegram said. “We had a lot of just what I thought from the bench looked like easy shots that just did not fall for us. We dug ourselves a hole, and it’s hard to counter once you dig yourself a hole with a player that can control the game as well as (Jones) can.”
As Pegram implored her team to give Everette touches in the low post, the Lady Bruins crept to within six on senior Jakeria Anderson’s finger roll early in the second quarter. But North Johnston senior Jada Santiago went 4 for 4 from the foul line early in the quarter, and Jones buried a deep 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to leave North Johnston with a 35-19 lead.
Everette led Beddingfield with a double-double, compiling 10 points and 10 rebounds. For North Johnston, Jones was supplemented by nine points each from juniors Jordyn Scott and Lindsey Massengill.
Beddingfield trailed by as many as 24 and had senior point guard Jayla Bullock injure her left ankle in the third quarter.
J. Anderson 6, Bullock 8, T. Anderson 2, Dudley, Pope, Everette 10, Sherrod 4, Blanchard, Bottoms 2, Thomas 2.
NORTH JOHNSTON (52)
Pearce 2, Davis 2, Narron, Hines, Santiago 6, Scott 9, Massengill 9, Gibson 4, Jones 20.
Score by quarters:
Beddingfield 9 10 4 11 — 34
North Johnston 17 18 9 8 — 52