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The Beddingfield High varsity boys basketball team forwarded a blistering statement that it intends to remain within the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference top echelon Tuesday night before a small turnout with a resounding 81-49 victory against visiting North Pitt in the conference opener for both teams.
The Bruins, who shared regular-season supremacy with Farmville Central last season and lost in the tournament championship game to North Pitt, authoritatively announced their intent by closing out the first half with a torrid 17-0 run that yielded a 36-17 halftime margin.
Playing for the first time since Dec. 20, Beddingfield evened its record at 5-5 while the Panthers departed 6-6.
“We told the guys that, after tonight’s games, half the (league) teams were going to be undefeated and the other three were going to be behind,” Beddingfield second-year head coach Joe Dvozenja said. “We wanted to make sure we were in that upper echelon.”
And, in the opinion of senior guard Tobias Cooper, Beddingfield executed its game plan.
“We came out aggressive and tried to kill their morale early,” he explained. “Our main focus was to play defense, rebound and play as a team. It was a good overall team win; everybody did their job.”
With the Bruins clinging to a 19-17 edge in the second quarter, Cooper ignited the 17-0 tear. Beddingfield added two points to the scoring streak to open the second quarter before North Pitt’s Deonte Person nailed a 3-point shot. By then, the Bruins owned a commanding 38-20 margin. The biggest margin was 28 points in the final quarter.
Beddingfield’s helter-skelter pace forced numerous North Pitt turnovers and Dvozenja commended his team’s work on the backboards.
Ironically, the Bruins sizzled after going scoreless the first three minutes, 15 seconds of the second quarter. But Beddingfield never relinquished a 17-10 lead after one quarter.
Cooper poured in 22 points and was a rebounding force. Freshmen Mike Best and 6-foot-3 Nasiar Blackston each bucketed 14 points — a career high for Blackston.
Every Beddingfield player scored with the exception of 6-4 senior Octavius Lacey, the No. 2 scorer who missed practice Monday.
“We played well,” Dvozenja understated. “We finally brought it together. Don’t let the score reflect how good a team North Pitt is. Winning the first conference game is huge.”
Beddingfield’s scheduled home game against Fike on Wednesday night has been postponed because of the forecast for stormy winter weather and, weather permitting, the Bruins will visit conference foe North Johnston on Friday.
NORTH PITT (49)
Staton 9, Person 8, Wilson 4, Council 8, Boykin, Hines 5, Arthor 2, Best 7, Ward 3, Payton 3, Lucas, Coffey.
Cooper 22, Lacey, Langston 8, Artis 2, Pittman 7, Brantley 2, Best 4, Blackston 14, Witherspoon 4, Wilder 8.
Score by quarters:
North Pitt 10 7 15 17 — 49
Beddingfield 17 19 24 21 — 81