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BETHEL — Youth and experience blended together for the Beddingfield High varsity boys basketball team to reach the semifinal round of the 2018 2-A Eastern Plains Conference tournament Monday night.
While seniors Tobias Cooper and Octavius Lacey were steady in their own right, freshman Mike Best contributed 17 points on a trio of 3-pointers as the Bruins earned a third meeting with regular-season champion Farmville Central following a 74-64 victory over North Johnston inside the North Pitt gym.
Beddingfield, the No. 4 seed, improved to 9-12 and will take on the top-seeded Jaguars (17-3) on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in Farmville. North Johnston, the No. 5 seed, fell to 8-14 and is likely out of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoff picture.
The Bruins surged to a 30-22 halftime lead behind a steady defensive showing, shooting 16 for 25 from the free-throw line for 64-percent accuracy. Cooper, who joined Best in hitting three 3-pointers, led all scorers with 26 points. Lacey finished with a double-double, bucketing 10 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Two seniors led North Johnston, with Kameron Williams (25 points) and Trey Whitley (12 points) landing in double figures for the Panthers.
Beddingfield, ranked No. 74 in the latest 2-A MaxPreps computer rankings, will face a Farmville Central team that prevailed handily in a pair of regular-season meetings. The Jaguars, who are No. 8 by the same MaxPreps metric, won 64-45 on Jan. 24 at Beddingfield and stampeded to a 94-50 victory in Farmville on Feb. 6.
Cooper 26, Lacey 10, Wooten 2, Artis 4, Brantley 2, Best 17, Blackston 5, Wilder 8.
NORTH JOHNSTON (64)
Williams 25, Vann 3, Hinnant 7, Stancil 9, Broadway 2, Whitley 12, Faye 6.
Score by quarters:
Beddingfield 13 17 18 26 — 74
North Johnston 14 8 18 24 — 64