02/24/08 — Estern Wayne upsets Beddingfield 64-61

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Estern Wayne upsets Beddingfield 64-61

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on February 24, 2008 3:09 AM


New-Agus Sports Writer

KINSTON -- Eastern Wayne escaped at the right time.

The Warriors nearly succumbed to Wilson Beddingfield's torrid, fourth-quarter shooting effort, but they hung on to achieve their best accomplishment since moving to the Class 3-A ranks seven years ago.

And they did what no other team could do this season -- put a blemish on the Bruins' once-perfect record. Eboni Reid drained two free throws in the closing seconds as Eastern Wayne stunned No. 1-ranked Beddingfield 64-61 in the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tournament finals Friday evening.

The victory snapped the Bruins' 25-game, season-long win streak and marked their their first loss in 36 outings against ECC opposition since 2005-06. The Warriors, meanwhile, recorded their first 20-win season with head coach Brent Holland.

The Warriors (20-4 overall) led by 13 points with seven minutes left in regulation. After a timeout, Beddingfield shaved the deficit to single digits -- 58-53 -- with a 10-2 run.

Holland burned timeouts to stop the momentum and keep his team focused.

"I thought, at one point, we had played to well to lose," said Holland. "I was really hoping and praying that something would happen to go our way."

Monique Spry's runner off the glass pulled the Bruins within a single possession. After another timeout, the Warriors fell victim to a 10-second violation and Ansia Dial's ensuing free throw made it 60-58.

Eastern Wayne misfired on its next possession and Beddingfield corraled the loose ball after a mad scramble. Shaniqua Clay missed the back end of a two-shot foul and Spry collected the offensive rebound. Her short jumper put the Bruins ahead 61-60.

At that point, the Warriors went to senior forward Brittani Billups. The Longwood (Va.) University signee grabbed a pass inside, turned and drew the foul. She easily sank both free throws to Eastern Wayne back in front 62-61.

Working with 22 seconds, the Bruins rushed downcourt and attempted an ill-advised shot. Reid snagged the rebound, drew the foul and iced the biggest win in Holland's coaching career.

"This validates our whole year," Holland said. "Not that we would have failed had we lost, but the final win makes it that much better. Brittani was huge for us tonight.

"Danielle (Daniel) and Tiarra (McIntyre) each had great offensive nights, so it was all-in-all a good team win."

The Warriors entertain Southern Alamance in an opening-round, N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff game Tuesday. Tip-off is 7 p.m.