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The trio of senior guards Jayla Bullock and Jakeria Anderson and 6-foot-2 sophomore center MaKayla Evcrette rallied the Beddingfield High varsity girls basketball team from a 15-point deficit early in the second half to a stirring 52-48 victory against county rival Hunt before a turnout of some 1,000 in the Beddingfield High gym Friday night.
The trio combined for 50 points as the Lady Bruins of the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference avenged a 12-point loss, won their third game of the week and upped their record to 5-1.
Bullock, accurate on six shots from 3-point range, poured in 20 points, while Anderson tossed in 18 and Everette, despite first-half foul trouble, posted a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The 3-A Big Conference Lady Warriors, 53-41 winners against Beddingfield at Hunt a week earlier, were handed their third loss against five wins. The rivals meet for the third time in the first round of the Farris & Farris Holiday Tournament in the Fike High gym on Monday, Dec. 18.
“A great game tonight,” clamored veteran Beddingfield head coach Debra Pegram. “Either team could have won it and we were fortunate to come out on top. I love playing quality teams; it only makes you better.
“Jakeria had a big, big second half and her adding a spark of offense was crucial. MaKayla was huge inside for us in the second half and just her presence then was a positive for our team.
“The team did a great job of finding Jayla off double screens. She has the green light to shoot the 3-pointer any time she steps on the floor. She has put a lot of time into her shooting.. She is one of the best I have ever coached off screens and she proved that tonight. Jayla understands the game inside and out. She’s a complete player.”
Bullock all but buried Hunt’s hopes of a regular-season sweep of the Lady Bruins in the closing moments.
Her fifth 3-pointer resulted in a 47-47 tie with two minutes, 18 seconds remaining. A minute later, she again connected from downtown and the Lady Bruins, down 28-18 at halftime, led 50-47. After Hunt’s Imani Sutton hit the second of two free throws to close the deficit to 50-48 with 1:02 showing, Bullock sealed the outcome with a pair of free throws with 15.2 seconds to go.
“This is the game I had to step up,” Bullock declared. “Taking the 3-pointer doesn’t bother me. I had really rather take the 3.”
Leading Hunt scorer, senior Kayla Kent, led her team with 11 points despite foul problems. Sutton added 10 points and Khala McNeil nine.
“It was terrible,” head coach Tiffany Parks said of Hunt’s performance. “We didn’t attack, didn’t make layups and didn’t play to our potential. This one hurts more because we led the whole game.
“But you’ve got to give hats off to Jayla. She was shooting from the sideline; it was just incredible. She didn’t do that the last time.
“I thought we did a good job on Everette, but No. 1 (Anderson) kept them in the game. She came from nowhere. She only scored three points the other game and was definitely not on our radar as a shooting threat.”
The tempo was not as quick as Parks would have preferred, but the Lady Warriors stretched a 16-11 margin after one quarter to 28-18 at halftime. Hunt’s lead crested at 15 points and Beddingfield’s Everette was dealing with foul trouble.
“Everette out in the first half put a damper on our offense,” Pegram assured. “We had to go back to zone (defense). At halftime, we just told the girls to keep battling. It was a team effort — people doing what they do best.”
Beddingfield, with Bullock handling the basketsball, effectively killed the clock in the closing moments.
“We had to get focused and calmed down,” Bullock said of the comeback. “Everybody was playing crazy.”
Parks noted the Lady Warriors were missing a key performer in Tatiana Smith (suspended) and mentioned that her team settled for too many perimeter shots late.
“Mentally, things occurred that we tried to recover from — and just didn’t,” she said.
“It was pretty poor shot selection at the end. It was definitely not what I told them to do. Some times, we see the other team do something and we try to be what the other team is. We’ve got to stay true to what we do best. And we got caught up in some drama that had been occurring.”
And as Pegram emphasized: “The stage is set for the first round of the Christmas tourney.”
Griffith 8, Jones 6, McNeil 9, Tucker 2, Kent 11, Spells 2, Sutton 10.
J. Anderson 18, Bullock 20, Pope, Everette 12, Sherrod 2, Aikerson, T. Anderson, Best, Bottoms.
Score by quarters:
Hunt 16 12 9 11 — 48
Beddingfield 11 7 17 17 — 52